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It’s a busy week at the nexus of entertainment and politics. At the same time that Disney is threatening to cease filming in the state of Georgia if the governor signs a law they see as discriminatory, a similar battle is now taking place just a bit to the north in North Carolina. There, the governor has already signed a new law into effect that many in Hollywood are viewing as discrimination. One director has already stated he will cease working in the state until the law is repealed, and the MPAA has said, on behalf of all the studios, that they oppose the bill.
North Carolina’s House Bill 2, titled the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, enforces a ban of people using restrooms that do not correspond with their biological sex. In addition, it also reserves all power for passing non-discrimination legislation to the state, meaning that local governments no longer have any power to pass their own laws on these issues. According to CNN, the state legislature took emergency action in order to strike down an ordinance in the city of Charlotte which allowed transgender citizens to use the restrooms of the gender they identify as. Director Rob Reiner has now come out to say that he will not film anything in North Carolina until such time as the law is repealed. In addition, the Motion Picture Association of America has stated that the studios oppose "any law that legitimizes discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression."
All of this follows on the heels of Disney’s public statements that they will cease to film movies at Pinewood Studios in Georgia unless the governor refuses to sign a bill currently on his desk, which would allow religious organizations to refuse to hire, or provide service, to anybody who they feel violates their religious beliefs. Since Disney’s public statements, they have now been joined by companies such as Netflix and the Weinstein Company in vowing to pull their productions from the state.
Georgia has been a popular choice for Hollywood filming due to the state’s extensive tax credit. North Carolina, for its part, has been dialing back their tax credits, and thus they aren’t seeing quite the volume of business that they used to. Still, North Carolina does have some productions currently going, including ABC’s Dirty Dancing special. As ABC is owned by Disney, it’s very possible this production could be impacted, since it’s likely Disney will react in North Carolina in a similar fashion to its response in Georgia.
While the Georgia boycott can be averted by a decision to simply do nothing by the governor, in North Carolina, this is now the law, meaning that the state government would have to take action to make any changes. Considering they were the ones who took this action in the first place, it’s hard to believe anything will be changing anytime soon.