Georgia is at risk of losing a lot of superhero presence if a controversial “religious liberty” bill gets signed into law.
Marvel Studios and its parent company, The Walt Disney Co., have announced they will no longer shoot projects in the Peach State if the Free Exercise Protection Act is signed by Gov. Nathan Deal. The bill, which is widely criticized as legalizing discrimination against the LGBT community, protects religious officials from having to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies, and also allows faith-based organizations to deny services or employment to those who they say violate their religious beliefs.
A Disney spokesman said Wednesday, “Disney and Marvel are inclusive companies, and although we have had great experiences filming in Georgia, we will plan to take our business elsewhere should any legislation allowing discriminatory practices be signed into state law.”
Georgia’s generous tax incentives have lately made it a popular hub for filming. Marvel is currently shooting Guardians of the Galaxy 2 at Pinewood Studios just outside Atlanta, where Captain America: Civil War and Ant-Man were also shot last year.
AMC Networks, which makes The Walking Dead in Georgia, also issued a statement opposing the legislation on Wednesday (though it did not commit to a full boycott).
“As a company, AMC Networks believes that discrimination of any kind is reprehensible,” a company spokesman said. “We applaud Governor Deal’s leadership in resisting a previous version of this divisive legislation and urge him to reject the current version as well.”
Earlier this month, the NFL voiced similar opposition, indicating that if the bill gets signed, a Super Bowl will not be coming to Atlanta.
Gov. Deal has until May 3 to decide what to do. Hopefully these massive and influential companies putting their foots down against the discriminatory legislation help sway his decision.