May 30, 2019

Major media companies consider boycotts over Georgia abortion ban

Abortion-rights advocates rally in front of the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta on May 21. Photo: Tami Chappel/AFP/Getty Images

Hollywood heavyweights like Netflix, Disney, NBC and WarnerMedia are all considering film production boycotts if Georgia upholds its "fetal heartbeat" abortion ban.

Why it matters: Tax incentives for major film companies have made Georgia an East-Coast haven for major movie studios and production companies over the past decade.

Driving the news: Both WarnerMedia (formerly Turner) and NBCUniversal said Thursday that the bill, if passed, could impact their ability to do business in Georgia.

  • “We will watch the situation closely and if the new law holds we will reconsider Georgia as the home to any new productions," WarnerMedia said.
  • “If any of these laws are upheld, it would strongly impact our decision-making on where we produce our content in the future," NBCUniversal said.

Netflix became the first major Hollywood studio to make a public statement about the boycott on Tuesday after several celebrities and filmmakers began protesting the bill.

  • Disney CEO Bob Iger told Reuters on Wednesday that it would be "very difficult" to continue filming in Georgia if the ban goes into effect. "I think many people who work for us will not want to work there," he said.

Our thought bubble: A boycott would serve as a signal to lawmakers in Georgia and other states that restrictive abortion policies could impact their ability to lure projects, companies and jobs.

  • Similar "fetal heartbeat" abortion measures are currently being considered in Florida, South Carolina and Louisiana.
  • The 2017 "bathroom bill" corporate boycott in North Carolina was estimated to have cost North Carolina $3.76 billion over 12 years.

The big picture: Brands are taking positions on tough issues today more than ever before.

  • Research shows that consumers expect brands to stand up for issues they believe in, although some issues are more contentious to stand up for than others.
  • Abortion and gun control, for example, are 2 issues that brands typically stay away from, as they are more polarizing than issues such as equal pay or climate change.

Go deeper

The polarized pandemic election

A Trump supporter protests Pennsylvania's stay-at-home order, during a May 15 rally outside the Capitol in Harrisburg. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

President Trump is going all-in on pushing for a rapid, robust return to normal life, creating a visual, visceral contrast with Joe Biden and other Democrats who are more reticent to rip the masks off.

The state of play: Business friends have been urging Trump from the beginning to keep the lockdowns short. He's listening more and more.

Tech's long hot summer of antitrust

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Google, Facebook and other tech giants face a summer of regulatory grilling as long-running investigations into potential anticompetitive practices likely come to a head.

The big picture: Probes into the power of Big Tech launched by federal and state authorities are turning a year old, and observers expect action in the form of formal lawsuits and potentially damning reports — even as the companies have become a lifeline for Americans during the pandemic lockdown.

Palantir CEO hits Silicon Valley "monoculture," may leave California

Palantir is "getting close" to a decision on whether to move the company out of California, CEO Alex Karp said in an interview for "Axios on HBO."

The state of play: "We haven't picked a place yet, but it's going to be closer to the East Coast than the West Coast. ... If I had to guess, I would guess something like Colorado."