Turbulent times on the shaky ground where entertainment meets politics: Warner Bros. has now come out in support of Disney and AMC in their threat to boycott Georgia productions in the event that a restrictive new anti-LGBT bill should pass in the state Legislature. Under the guise of religious freedom, the proposed bill would allow anyone the right to refuse to perform same-sex weddings, and would even permit employers to openly discriminate in hiring and service practices on the basis of sexual orientation. Disney and Marvel have taken advantage of generous tax breaks in the state and set plenty of productions there, but have promised to put an end to all that with a boycott in response to the bill earlier this week.
Now, Warner Bros. has joined the charge. They provided a strong, unambiguous statement in protest of the regressive legislation known as the Free Exercise Protection Act, reproduced below courtesy of Deadline:
“At Time Warner, diversity in all its forms is core to our value system and to the success of our business… We strongly oppose the discriminatory language and intent of Georgia’s pending religious liberty bill, which clearly violates the values and principles of inclusion and the ability of all people to live and work free from discrimination.”
“All of our divisions – HBO, Warner Bros. and Turner – have business interests in Georgia, but none more than Turner, an active participant in the Georgia Prospers campaign, a coalition of business leaders committed to a Georgia that welcomes all people. Georgia bill HB 757 is in contradiction to this campaign, to the values we hold dear, and to the type of workplace we guarantee to our employees. We urge Governor Deal to exercise his veto.”
The cynics among us may choose to interpret this gesture as large corporations protecting their bottom line and attempting to pass it off as a moral imperative, but I prefer to take this motion at face value. It’s heartening to see the people heading up unfeeling corporate behemoths demonstrate that they’ve still got souls. The entertainment industry provides Georgia’s state economy with a massive influx of out-of-state cash every year; the potentially ruinous effect of losing that could be enough to sway local officials.