ViacomCBS has taken a stance in opposition to the Georgia voting rights law that restricts voting access, making it the first major entertainment media corporation to do so and part of a group of vocal big businesses that include Delta and Coca-Cola.
“We unequivocally believe in the importance of all Americans having an equal right to vote and oppose the recent Georgia voting rights law or any effort that impedes the ability to exercise this vital constitutional right,” reads the statement. “Increasing voter access and civic engagement is one of ViacomCBS’ core social impact pillars and we will continue to educate the public on the importance of an open and fair voting system through our programming and extensive partnerships with grassroots organizations that promote and increase participation in elections.”
ViacomCBS, the parent corporation of CBS, MTV, VH1, BET and a wide range of other networks, has numerous shows that are currently in various stages of production in Georgia: The CW’s “Dynasty,” “Black Lightning,” “Naomi,” and “Powerpuff Girls,” BET’s “Long Slow Exhale,” “Black Ink Crew,” “Tyler Perry’s Young Dylan,” and “Tales,” MTV’s “Floribama Shore,” and VH1’s “Love & Hip Hop Atlanta,” and “TI and Tiny.” CBS’s “MacGyver” just wrapped production there for the season.
Filmmaker Tyler Perry said the law, which limits ballot drop boxes and requires state-issued ID for absentee voting, “harkens to the Jim Crow era.” While some filmmakers and actors are boycotting production in the state, ViacomCBS is not planning to pull any of its productions from Georgia. Georgia Democrat and voting rights advocate Stacey Abrams, in a USA Today op-ed, said that she believes boycotts are not necessary just yet, calling them “complicated affairs that require a long-term commitment to action.”
ViacomCBS has engaged in civic engagement initiatives in recent years, such as BET’s “Reclaim Your Vote” campaign to “aid Black citizens against suppression tactics and ensure their votes count,” and MTV’s grant program that focused on youth voter turnout and led to a $160,000 investment in 16 grassroots organizations in Georgia that aimed to educate and mobilize young voters.