Promoted from the diaries by streiff. Promotion does not imply endorsement.
As everyone is now aware, Georgia passed a fetal heartbeat law which has drawn the ire of the Left and feminists everywhere. As a result, the Hollywood Twitter brigade has been out tweeting away with righteous virtue their indignation that a state would actually move to protect innocent human life. It took a tweet by former childhood star Alyssa Milano to get the ball rolling. Almost in knee jerk fashion, performers like Amy Schumer, Alec Baldwin, Rosie O’Donnell and Ben Stiller announced that they will no longer appear in films made in Georgia. Milano herself released a larger list of performers which, quite frankly, this writer noticed very few names.
Let me clarify that. I did notice some names, but they all seem to have one thing in common- they have not appeared in anything worth watching in a long time. Seriously, does anyone watch anything with Amy Schumer? Alec Baldwin hasn’t been relevant since 30 Rock. And the rest are just forgettable. Governor Brian Kemp described them as C-list performers. I think he was being generous in labeling them “C-List.”
However, potentially damaging for Georgia is the “threats” from major studios like Disney and Netflix to at at least “reconsider” their presence in Georgia. First, the backdrop in Georgia itself as a film destination for Hollywood producers, then an instructive insight.
Since implementing a 30% tax rebate, film companies have rushed to Georgia to make movies. In 2017, 455 film projects were made in Georgia infusing that state with $9.5 billion in business. We are talking such popular shows as The Walking Dead and the Marvel universe productions. It is estimated that the film industry has paid over $4.6 billion in wages to Georgia citizens and created 92,100 jobs.
It thus becomes obvious that if the intended boycott proposed by Milano and to which others have virtuously signed onto were to come to fruition, the state would lose $9.5 billion, Georgia citizens would lose $4.6 billion and 92,100 people would be out of work. Simply, the intended boycott does not directly affect those politicians who enacted the law, but it certainly injures innocent people in Georgia caught in the social justice crossfire. Will Milano and her Twitter minions help alleviate the economic suffering as the result of their actions? One doubts it.
The case of Netflix reveals an important insight. There is a reason they chose Georgia in which to film their productions. As a right-to-work state, they are not encumbered by union rules and regulations that serve to drive up the cost of production. It a business friendly state when it come to taxes. The regulatory and tax environment in Georgia is conducive to business, especially filming production companies.
Netflix has so far come out as the strongest voice against the law threatening to “reconsider their entire investment” in Georgia if the law is implemented. Yet, by the end of 2018, Netflix had racked up over $8.3 billion in debt. They managed to secure another $2 billion in debt to continue original programming. If you need some background noise while you bathe the kids or do homework, with precious few exceptions, Netflix original programming is for you. Instead, if one looks at ratings for Netflix, the top shows are syndicated reruns. We are talking about shows like Parks and Recreation, The Office, and Friends.
Some people see a rosy picture for the future of Netflix original programming. But, in reality given their track record here, it less than a 50% proposition the program will succeed. Regardless, they are paying a very steep price to keep unoriginal programming as it is without the added burden paying for the filming of original programming. By pulling out of business-friendly Georgia with their perks for production companies and their regulatory environment, the difference could be millions of dollars. Those millions of dollars added by moving out of Georgia are the difference between whether anything gets filmed or not of an original nature.
Netflix, Disney and others have to ask themselves: What drew us to Georgia in the first place? The answer is obvious- the business environment, not a pro-life legislature. They are, after all, businesses at the end of the day who have to answer to shareholders in their company- not Alyssa Milano and her Twitter followers.
Already, given their announcement to “reconsider” Georgia, pro-life leaders have called for a boycott of Netflix should they go through with their threat. Given their financial situation, Netflix may want to reconsider the double-whammy of increased production costs incurred elsewhere besides Georgia and a threatened boycott of their product by pro-life people.
No one can legally force any actor to film anything where they refuse to film. That is a personal choice by the performer. Likewise, no one can legally force a production company to film in Georgia. That is a choice the production company makes. But, unlike individual performers, companies have to answer to shareholders and the bottom line. A company bleeding over $10 billion in debt has to ask themselves whether pulling out of Georgia, given their original programming budget, whether they really want to move to a less business-friendly state. Do they really wish to position themselves in a more precarious financial situation so that they can virtue signal to the advocates of abortion?
Despite stating her solidarity in principle, no one less than Stacey Abrams- the ultimate Georgia liberal- said she disagrees with Milano’s boycott. Perhaps she understands the cost to innocent workers earning over $4.6 billion a year spread over 91,200 people. When you lose the support of Stacey Abrams on how this issue is being handled by the Hollywood elite, you know you may have a problem.
It remains to see how these threats play out. Hopefully, business sense will win out over virtue signaling. This may just be all words, smoke and mirrors by Hollywood producers. I am putting my money on good old-fashioned Georgia capitalism.