Director Spike Lee is calling for Hollywood production companies to leave Georgia over a law that would ban abortions as early as six weeks, upon detection of a fetal heartbeat. It marks the latest pushback from Hollywood against the polarizing law.
Most studios that have commented have said they're waiting to see if the so-called "heartbeat" law actually takes effect next year, or if the courts will block it. But at the arrivals line for Denzel Washington's American Film Institute lifetime achievement tribute Thursday, Lee said now is the time for Georgia-based productions to "shut it down" and boycott the state's booming film industry to drive change.
Lee acknowledged that a mass exodus could dent livelihoods in the industry, which provides $9.5 billion each year to the state's economy, but cited black bus drivers affected by the Civil Rights Movement-era boycott in Montgomery.
"I know it's going to affect people's livelihood. But that's how things change," Lee said.
"You've got to be on the right side of history, and the state of Georgia and those other states, they're wrong," he added.
Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said the streaming company will reconsider its "entire investment" in Georgia if the state implements a recently enacted law that bans abortion after a heartbeat is detected in an embryo. Nearly half a dozen major media companies have joined Netflix in in the stance.
Likewise, Hollywood heavyweight Peter Chernin plans to fight Georgia and other states' anti-abortion laws, although not through a production boycott. Instead, Chernin isto help raise $15 million for the American Civil Liberties Union's fight against anti-abortion legislation.