A top TV executive is calling on Hollywood to boycott Georgia if the state passes an anti-LGBTQ adoption bill approved by the Senate last week.
Ben Wexler, a producer on shows like Arrested Development and Community, tweeted on Sunday in protest of the “Keep Faith in Adoption and Foster Care Act,” which was ratified by the upper house of the Georgia legislature Friday. Introduced by state Sen. William Ligon, it would permit adoption and foster care agencies to turn away same-sex couples if placing a child with them would violate their “sincerely held religious beliefs.”
State Bill 375 would also prohibit the state from taking “adverse action” against agencies which discriminate in the name of faith.
Calling the legislation “dumb,” Wexler called upon fellow content creators to stop doing business with the state of Georgia if the billwhich heads to the House following the Senate’s 35-19 voteis signed into law.
“To my fellow showrunners: If this dumb bill becomes law, let’s be done filming television shows in Georgia,” he tweeted.
To my fellow showrunners: if this dumb bill becomes law, let’s be done filming television shows in Georgia https://t.co/d5Vd5bj8Rp
— Ben Wexler (@mrbenwexler) February 26, 2018
Celebrities like comedian Billy Eichner (Difficult People), screenwriter Michael Green (Logan), producer Paul Adelstein (Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce), and executive producer (Army Wives) tweeted their approval, while filmmaker Eric Janvier (Blackstone) called upon AMC’s The Walking Dead to take a stand against the anti-LGBTQ bill.
“The biggest show at the moment is The Walking Dead, and if they decide to walk away from the state, that’s a huge loss for them,” Janvier posted in response to Wexler.
The biggest show at the moment is the Walking Dead and if they decide to walk away from the state thats a huge loss for them.
— Eric Janvier (@ClassicJanvier) February 26, 2018
The Walking Dead, one of the most-watched shows on television, is a major lynchpin in Georgia’s thriving entertainment economy. Shows likeStranger Things,24: Legacy, andAtlantabring in more than $7 billion a year for the state, a combination of job creation and tourism revenue. Senoia, the town where the zombie pop culture phenomenon shoots,is a “tourist mecca,”as Ad Week reports.
Showrunner Greg Nicotero has yet to respond to calls for a boycott on Twitter.
It remains to be seen, however, whether Gov. Nathan Deal will be willing to back SB 375. The Republican governor vetoed a “religious freedom” bill in 2016 over concerns its passage would jeopardize the state’s business relationship with the Walt Disney Co. and Marvel Studios.Avengers: Infinity War,Black Panther, andGuardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2all filmed in the Peach State, which has become Marvel’s unofficial home base in recent years.
“I do not think we have to discriminate against anyone to protect the faith-based community in Georgia, of which I and my family have been a part of for all of our lives,” Deal said two years ago, asCNNreported at the time.
“Georgia is a welcoming state,” he added. “It is full of loving, kind and generous people. […] I intend to do my part to keep it that way.”
The conservative has not signaled his position on SB 375, which issimilar to bills passed in Alabama, South Dakota, and Texaslast year. To date, seven statespermit foster care and adoption agenciesto discriminate against LGBTQ people.
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