Two of entertainment media’s biggest influencers have threatened to boycott film production in Georgia if the state passes a religious liberty bill currently pending legislative approval.
On Wednesday, The Walt Disney Co. and Marvel Entertainment released an official statement regarding their stance on the state’s latest anti-gay legislation. It followed shortly after the MPAA issued their statement calling for Gov. Nathan Deal to veto HB 757, a bill that would make it illegal to force clergy to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies.
Like another current piece of anti-LGBTQ legislation in North Carolina, Georgia’s bill has the potential to reach beyond its initial implications. HB 757 may also allow for companies like Chick-Fil-A and Hobby Lobby to label themselves as faith-based organizations, giving them the legal right to deny services and leave out anti-discrimination protections for employees based on sexual orientation.
An earlier version of the bill was vetoed by the governor, but it remains unclear whether or not Gov. Deal will do that again, though he has until May 3 to officially decide.
Disney and its subsidiary are not the only companies vocalizing their opposition to the bill. AMC and Viacom have also come out against the anti-gay legislation. But a boycott from the entertainment goliath—in a state that is currently raking in a substantial amount of money from the film production industry—may be a much larger cause for congressional pause.
To understand its potential economic impact, note that before the state implemented its recent tax credits, only $132.5 million was spent on film production in the state. By the end of the 2015 fiscal year, that number jumped to over 10 times that amount. $1.7 billion to be exact.
In an official statement, Disney made it clear that if Georgia’s congress passes the bill, it will be taking its properties elsewhere.
“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,” the company said.