TROUBLE CITY

What Should Hollywood Do with Georgia?

Articles, Real LifeBrandon MarcusComment
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Georgia Governor Brian Kemp recently signed an incredibly strict abortion law, known as a “heartbeat law”, that has courted controversy from moment one. The bill has effectively outlawed abortion after six weeks and carries serious repercussions for women and doctors, including possible jail time for medical professionals and intrusive investigations for women. It’s a mess and, sadly, becoming more common in America. Just yesterday, Alabama passed the strictest anti-abortion law in history, effectively banning the procedure unless the life of the mother is in danger. And many predict that by 2020, the conservative Supreme Court will rule one way or another on Roe V. Wade, meaning abortion across the land may be outlawed or incredibly hard to come by. America is at a crossroads.

And now Hollywood is getting involved. Georgia has become a hotbed for productions in recent years. A lot of television and movies — including several Marvel properties — have been filmed in Georgia. But that is now up in the air after Kemp’s signing of the heartbeat law. There are many in show business who want to cut ties with the Peach State as a sign of solidarity with women and pro-choice communities. It would send a message, they say. It would hit Georgia, and Governor Kemp, where it hurts most: the pocketbook. And let’s be honest, the best way to create change is to affect someone’s bottom line. Money talks.

Several production companies believe it’s time to leave Georgia behind entirely. David Simon’s Blown Deadline Productions, Killer Films and Duplass Brothers Productions have all pledged to stop bringing business to Georgia, meaning millions of dollars are already at risk of being lost because of this bill. And the number of companies could possibly grow, causing great harm to what was becoming Little Hollywood. 

But is abandoning Georgia the right choice? Will this really create the change people want? And, more importantly, will it help those fighting the law? 

Quite frankly, the answer is no. I can understand the initial decision to leave George behind and move onto far less misogynistic and forward-thinking states. The people proposing no more productions in Georgia want to hurt Governor Kemp and make him regret his bill. But it hurts the people of Georgia even more. It hurts the people who will already suffer because of such a strict law.

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Whether people like to admit it or not, Hollywood has a lot of power. They are the decision makers for our country. Americans might not accept it but Hollywood is the determining factor when it comes to fashion, trends and obviously what’s popular in music, movies and television. They have strong influence on our populace and always have. Hollywood’s absence in Georgia would have an impact, I admit that. But remaining in Georgia would have an even bigger one. The right choice would be to stay put and continue to drum up business and job opportunities and millions upon millions of dollars for local communities. Then studios and the creative types against Kemp’s bill should use their money, their power, their influence, to fight to overturn the law. Donate profits to the ACLU and local charities and non-profits battling for women’s rights. Set rallies, march on the capital, speak out online and in the streets. What so many in Hollywood don’t see is that running away from a fight doesn’t make you a victor. It might feel good, you might feel justified and righteous, but you’re doing more harm than good. Stay, fight, raise your voice. The actors, actresses, directors, writers and others who are against this abortion law should stay and duke it out. We need more soldiers, not fighters deserting the battlefield.

They could up and leave Georgia to show their outrage but what will that truly accomplish? Conservatives on the right would be angry at them — but they’re always angry at them. And they could use this abandonment as a sign that these left coast liberals don’t truly care for the people of Georgia and never did. That wouldn’t be constructive. But more importantly, the mass exit would only hurt those who are stuck in Georgia, those who don’t want this law and are afraid of its ramifications but don’t have the ability to leave and move elsewhere. It would send a message: You’re important. You’re valued. You need to fight for your rights…but we don’t want to stay and fight with you. These people have been crapped on enough by those in power. Someone with power needs to stay in the trenches with them.

It’s important to be angry and it’s important to want to reject draconian measures that only hurt innocent Americans and our constitution. But everyone has different powers, much like the Marvel heroes who have helped Georgia’s economy so much. Everyone has different strengths and a smart fighter plays into those strengths. Outraged people in Hollywood have the ability to raise awareness to what’s happening in Georgia, Alabama and other states. They have the power to sway public opinion and put their money where their mouths are. They need to fight. They need to fight intelligently. They need to fight in Georgia.