Nathan Deal signs into law a bill that would permit faith-based groups and organizations in the state to discriminate based on sexuality, Time Warner and a group of Hollywood industry leaders were among the new batch of voices who are urging him to stop the Free Exercise Protection Act in its tracks. The Hollywood group that included the likes of Greg Berlanti, Matt Bomer, Dustin Lance Black, Kathy Kennedy, Bryan Lourd, Seth MacFarlane, Ryan Murphy, Rob Reiner and Aaron Sorkin signed their names to a letter (read it in full below) sent to Deal by the Human Rights Campaign. Also on the list of names are Harvey Weinstein and Lee Daniels, who through The Weinstein Company this morning said they will move production of its Richard Pryor biopic shooting in the state later this year.
“At Time Warner, diversity in all its forms is core to our value system and to the success of our business,” the HBO, Warner Bros, CNN and Turner parent company said in a statement Thursday. “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,” Time Warner added. “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.”
Time Warner joins AMC and Viacom, who came out yesterday in wanting to see House Bill 757 on the legislative dust heap. The media companies are in line with the NFL, who may pull Atlanta out of Super Bowl-hosting contention over the issue, the MPAA, the Atlanta Hawks organization as well as Atlanta-based Coca-Cola in wanting to see the controversial bill stopped.
As you know, Atlanta is often referred to as the Hollywood of the South. During the last fiscal year, at least 248 films and television productions were shot in Georgia, adding at least $1.7 billion in direct spending to the state’s economy. Additionally, the entertainment industry helped to bring more than 100 businesses to Georgia through relocation or expansion in the past fiscal year. Only two states — California and New York — have a larger entertainment industry footprint and both have statewide non-discrimination protections on the books. Unfortunately, Georgia not only lacks such protections, but could soon move from a bad situation to worse with H.B. 757.