Kirsten Gillibrand Targets Hollywood Women in Fundraiser Amid Abortion Uproar

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand held a fundraiser targeting women in the entertainment community on Wednesday night amid a growing uproar over the spread of abortion bans across the South.

After some hesitation, major studios have begun to speak out against a fetal “heartbeat” bill in Georgia — one of nine states to pass new restrictions on abortion this year. Louisiana, another home to significant film production, is poised to approve its own bill placing more restrictions on abortion.

On Thursday, WarnerMedia joined Disney and Netflix in saying it would reconsider filming in Georgia if the law is upheld. Companies that might have once feared offending a major portion of their audiences are responding instead to pressure from their own employees.

“There’s been a shift in the last two years,” Gillibrand, a Democrat from New York, said in an interview prior to the fundraiser. “Whereas you might have protected your company or your persona or your non-partisan nature, people have left that behind and are now willing to speak out for what they believe in.”

Gillibrand attended a fundraiser on Wednesday at the home of producer Amy Baer, the president of Women in Film. The event was organized by the L.A. Women’s Collective, a political action committee of women drawn largely from Hollywood. The committee, which Gillibrand helped put together, has raised funds for female candidates at the state and local levels across the country.

Gillibrand has been among the most outspoken presidential candidates on abortion, traveling to Atlanta to protest the heartbeat bill and saying she would impose a pro-choice litmus test on Supreme Court nominees.

She has also expressed openness to changing the number of Supreme Court justices, and has said she would consider term limits.

“This president has succeeded in politicizing the court,” she said. “I will look for ways to depoliticize the Supreme Court.”

The senator declined to weigh in on whether studios should abandon Georgia if the abortion law, which is set to take effect in 2020, is upheld. Activists in Georgia have said a boycott would hurt the women it is meant to help, while doing nothing to change the minds of pro-life lawmakers.

“I think the industry will decide whether they want to use that tool or not, but I know that women’s voices are more powerful than anything,” Gillibrand said. She offered one alternative to boycotting: “Stay and invest in elections locally to unseat this radical conservative legislature that doesn’t value women.”

“I always prefer the direct ballot-box approach,” she added.

Popular on Variety

More Politics

  • Jane Fonda Arrested

    Jane Fonda Arrested (Again) With Sam Waterston in Climate Change Protest

    Jane Fonda was arrested again on Friday for protesting outside the Capitol in an effort to urge U.S. officials to take climate change seriously. This time, however, fellow “Grace and Frankie” actor Sam Waterston joined in on the protest and was also arrested. “Today, the United States Capitol Police arrested 17 individuals for unlawfully demonstrating [...]

  • Elijah Cummings dead

    Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings Dies at 68

    Democratic congressman Elijah Cummings, a prominent civil rights activist, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform and key figure in President Donald Trump’s impeachment inquiry, died on Thursday from “complications concerning longstanding health challenges,” according to a statement issued by his office. He was 68. Cummings has been a representative of Maryland’s 7th [...]

  • U.K. and E.U. Strike New Brexit

    U.K., E.U. Strike New Brexit Deal, but It Faces Tough Sell in Parliament

    The U.K. has reached a last-minute Brexit deal with the European Union, but faces a major challenge getting it approved by lawmakers in Parliament. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted: “We’ve got a great new deal that takes back control,” and called on lawmakers to back the deal when it’s put before Parliament on Saturday. [...]

  • Donald Trump

    Twitter Explains What It Would Take for Trump’s Account or Tweets to Be Deleted

    Twitter grants special exemptions to Donald Trump and other “world leaders” from its code of conduct, including from rules that apply to everyone else. But the social network — which is Trump’s go-to megaphone — says nobody is “above our policies entirely.” Critics including presidential contender Sen. Kamala Harris have blasted Twitter for failing to [...]

  • Tulsi Gabbard, Tom Steyer, Cory Booker,

    Democrats Debate: Elizabeth Warren Calls for Breakup of Tech Companies

    Sen. Elizabeth Warren called for the breakup of big tech companies on Tuesday night, as the candidates debated the size and influence of the technology sector in society. “I’m not willing to give up and let a handful of monopolists dominate our economy and our democracy,” Warren said, citing Amazon as a company that controls [...]

  • Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren,

    Democratic Debate: Elizabeth Warren Takes Fire From Moderates

    Sen. Elizabeth Warren came under fire from her more moderate opponents in Tuesday night’s Democratic debate, who challenged her plan for “Medicare for all” and her wealth tax proposal. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke took on Warren more forcefully than they have in previous debates. Buttigieg called her out [...]

  • Elizabeth Warren

    Elizabeth Warren's Fundraising Approach Worries Some Donors

    Elizabeth Warren raised nearly $25 million last quarter, and she did it without ever once setting foot in a fancy living room in Bel Air or Brentwood. Last week, she announced that if she is the Democratic nominee, she will continue to avoid high-dollar fundraisers in the general election. And on Tuesday, she went further, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content