LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 29: A billboard advertises a Netflix television series on Hollywood Boulevard on May 29, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said the company will reconsider its "entire investment" in Georgia if a strict new abortion law is not overturned. According to state data, the film industry in Georgia contributed $2.7 billion in direct spending while supporting 92,000 local jobs. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
America

Let’s See If Netflix and Disney Really Mean It


- May 31st, 2019
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Pity the poor actors and production companies that have discovered a need in conscience not to film in Georgia because of its new abortion restrictions. Presumably they won’t film in any state that restricts abortion—so not just Georgia, which has a burgeoning film industry because of tax incentives—but also Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Ohio, and Missouri, which have all recently passed “heartbeat laws.” And –no!—not Louisiana! No more filming in the French Quarter or on the bayou? This is sacrifice indeed.

Netflix voluntarily complies with Saudi and Iranian censorship, and accepts content filmed in Egypt, which bans abortion entirely. Disney has a theme park in China in spite of its gulag and other blatant human rights violations. So one wonders at this newfound studio squeamishness at complying with local laws. It seems only to be in America, against American citizens, that the Silicon Curtain descends to bully the local populace about what it may say and think, who it may read, and which laws it may enact. Perhaps it is merely democratic enactment by free people that is the objection?

No matter. The rights of conscience must be respected, so I look forward to the brave Hollywood boycott of the Cannes film festival next year (too late for 2019), since France bans abortion after 10 weeks.

And I expect there will be no more films set in the major European capitals, or on the Riviera, or in the Alps, or exotic Morocco, or most of South America, or anywhere in the Middle East or Africa. Most of the world restricts abortion after the first trimester. Even Sweden, with one of Europe’s most liberal abortion laws, bans abortion after 18 weeks.

If you will only film in places where abortion on demand for any reason for all nine months is permitted, you’re restricting the industry largely to the anglosphere: Canada, Great Britain, New Zealand, and certain parts of the United States and Australia. (What is this thing Anglo countries have for abortion do you suppose?) Sorry, actors of color who want more great parts and more diverse stories told: “on location” from now on means mostly New York, Los Angeles, London, Toronto, and  Sydney. And Beijing, of course—a welcome exception to the coming studio boycott of practically the whole non-Anglo world.

P.S. Abortion is legal only in the first trimester in Switzerland. Should anyone be going to Davos?

Photo credit:  Mario Tama/Getty Images

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