Despite Georgia Democratic politician Stacey Abrams asking Hollywood to #StayAndFight in the state against the recent passing of the draconian abortion ban, Director Spike Lee is calling for Hollywood production companies to leave Georgia, according to the Associated Press.
In May, Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed a “fetal heartbeat” bill that would effectively sentence women to life imprisonment and the death penalty if they chose to have an illegal abortion after six weeks. But it doesn’t take effect until next year.
Most studios that have commented on the issue have said they’re waiting to see if the law actually takes effect or if the courts will successfully block it.
But at the arrivals line for Denzel Washington’s American Film Institute lifetime achievement tribute on Thursday, Lee said Georgia-based productions should “shut it down” and boycott the state’s booming film industry to spark change and protect women’s rights.
When Abrams and other Democratic politicians asked Georgia-based production companies to stay, they said boycotting the state would only hurt working-class people.
Lee has acknowledged that a mass exodus of the production companies could hurt livelihoods but referenced Black bus drivers affected by the Civil Rights Movement-era boycotting in Montgomery, Ala.
“I know it’s going to affect people’s livelihood. But that’s how things change,” Lee said. “You’ve got to be on the right side of history, and the state of Georgia and those other states, they’re wrong.”
Georgia’s economy currently gets a $9.5 billion annual boost from the industry, according to the Associated Press.
Abrams and pro-choice activists are getting together with film industry leaders on June 11 in Los Angeles to talk about potential health-care and economic consequences of the abortion ban, an Abrams spokesman told The Washington Post.
According to reporting by The Washington Post, film industry workers are also organizing and stepping up to the plate. They have formed #StayAndFightGeorgia to go against a potential boycott and are raising money for the American Civil Liberties Union’s legal challenge to the abortion law.