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Disney's CEO says it will be "difficult" to film in Georgia if new abortion law implemented, report says

Netflix to fight Georgia's abortion bill
Netflix to join the ACLU's fight against Georgia abortion bill 04:25

The Walt Disney Company's chairman and CEO Bob Iger said it would be "very difficult" to continue filming in Georgia if the state's controversial fetal abortion ban takes effect, according to the Reuters news agency. He also added "many people" employed by the media giant likely would object to working in the state.

While providing an interview before the dedication of a new "Star Wars" section at Disneyland on Wednesday, Reuters asked Iger if the company would continue to film in the Peach State if the law is implemented. "I rather doubt we will," he said, according to the outlet. "I think many people who work for us will not want to work there, and we will have to heed their wishes in that regard. Right now we are watching it very carefully."

If the law takes effect, "I don't see how it's practical for us to continue to shoot there," he added.

Bob Iger, Disney's chairman and CEO, seen June 5, 2012. Reuters

The divisive bill was signed into law earlier this month by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp. The legislation would prohibit abortion after a heartbeat is detected in an embryo. That is something that usually happens between five and six weeks into a woman's pregnancy, before many know they are pregnant.

Abortion rights advocates have called the bill an effective ban on abortion in the state.

The state attracts movie shoots through a 20% base transferable tax credit. In 2018, the film industry supported a total of more than 92,000 local jobs in Georgia and $2.7 billion in direct spending, according to state officials. If Disney pulled its production, those numbers would most certainly take a hit. Some of Disney's largest budgeted and most successful films were shot in the state, including record-breakers "Black Panther" and "Avengers: Endgame." 

Marvel's "Black Panther" alone, which was among the 455 movie and TV projects filmed in Georgia in 2018, accounted for more than 3,000 workers.

Iger's statement comes just after Netflix's CEO Ted Sarandos said it would consider pulling movie and television productions from the state if the ban was implemented. The legislation also prompted outrage from major Hollywood actors and directors, with upcoming planned projects there.

Georgia hit with backlash from entertainment industry over new abortion law 02:00

Among the Hollywood elite to ditch plans to film in Georgia after the abortion measure was adopted were "Handmaid's Tale" director Reed Morano, actress Kristen Wiig and "Bridesmaids" writer Annie Mumolo, according to Variety, while "Titanic" actor Frances Fisher picketed in front of Atlanta's City Hall. 

Louisiana, Kentucky, Mississippi and Ohio have also passed laws that prohibit abortion when a fetal heartbeat is detected. None of the laws have taken effect, and all are expected to be blocked while legal challenges work their way through the courts.

If signed and not blocked in court, the Georgia law would take effect Jan. 1, 2020.

Kate Smith and Megan Cerullo contributed to this report.

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