May 28, 2019

Netflix considers boycotting Georgia over "fetal heartbeat" abortion ban

Photo: Joan Cros/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Netflix's Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos suggested that the streaming service is considering boycotting Georgia in light of the state's "fetal heartbeat" abortion ban, the NYT reports.

Why it matters: Netflix isn't making a concrete promise, but it is the first major Hollywood studio to make a public statement as other film industry figures pledge to boycott the state following its restrictive abortion ban.

What they're saying:

“We have many women working on productions in Georgia, whose rights, along with millions of others, will be severely restricted by this law. It’s why we will work with the A.C.L.U. and others to fight it in court. Given the legislation has not yet been implemented, we’ll continue to film there — while also supporting partners and artists who choose not to. Should it ever come into effect, we’d rethink our entire investment in Georgia.”
— Ted Sarandos in a statement released Monday

The state of play: Florida and South Carolina are considering their own "fetal heartbeat" bills, and Louisiana is close to passing one. West Virginia introduced a "fetal heartbeat" bill earlier this year. The ACLU said it plans to sue Georgia over the bill.

Our thought bubble from Axios' media reporter Sara Fischer: Consumers expect brands to stand up for issues they believe in. But some issues are more contentious to stand up for than others. Abortion, as well as gun control, are 2 issues that brands typically stay away from, as they are more polarizing than issues such as equal pay or climate change. That makes Netflix's move notable.

Go deeper: More filmmakers join slow-moving protest against Georgia's abortion ban

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Coronavirus kills 2 Diamond Princess passengers and South Korea sees first death

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. U.S. numbers include Americans extracted from Princess Cruise ship.

Two elderly Diamond Princess passengers have been killed by the novel coronavirus — the first deaths confirmed among the more than 600 infected aboard the cruise ship. South Korea also announced its first death Thursday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed more than 2,200 people and infected over 75,465 others, mostly in mainland China, where the National Health Commission announced 118 new deaths since Thursday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 6 hours ago - Health

SoftBank to cut its stake to get T-Mobile's Sprint deal done

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

T-Mobile and Sprint announced a revised merger agreement that will see SoftBank getting a smaller share of the combined company, while most shareholders will receive the previously agreed upon exchange rate. The companies said they hope to get the deal as early as April 1.

Why it matters: The amended deal reflects the decline in Sprint's business, while leaving most shareholders' stake intact and removing another hurdle to the deal's closure.