June 04, 2019
Walking away from their honey of a deal in Georgia is turning out to be too much of a headache for some Hollywood executives. So, producer Peter Chernin is taking on a new role -- as a liberal fundraiser.
In a private email to some industry giants, Chernin tells the group -- which includes Apple's Tim Cook and Amazon's Jeff Bezos -- that if they want to do something, they don't necessarily have to pull up stakes from the south. "As a friend and colleague in the film and TV industry, I write to you with a sense of urgency about the recent attempts to eliminate the right to abortion in Georgia and many other states across the country," the New York Times quotes him. "I am launching a campaign to contribute to the $15 million that is needed to fund the ACLU's legal efforts to battle the national anti-abortion movement with a deadline of July 1."
For filmmakers, who've been looking for a way to appease their liberal talent and also keep their productions low budget, the idea is a tempting one. For starters, it gets a lot of these executives off the hook from moving their projects to liberal states, where the taxes and regulations are suffocating. It also saves them the heartburn of negotiating with angry production crews, who've started to revolt over a possible boycott. And then, of course, there's the fact that it's probably a whole lot cheaper for these studios to chip in a few thousand dollars than roll the dice on a new location that could cost them millions.
"Firing workers, most of whom oppose this legislation, does not seem like a just response," Chernin wrote. "Taking action against only Georgia felt like a highly narrow and targeted response to a national battle. Abandoning and isolating parts of the country that we don't agree with strikes me as a dangerous response." He acknowledged companies like Netflix and Disney, who've been threatening a much stronger reaction. "While many of you support a full boycott if the law becomes effective next year, I am taking a more immediate and national approach."
Not so coincidentally, he's also taking an approach that doesn't upset the apple cart of his current projects. With two productions in process in Georgia, the man behind The Greatest Showman, Hidden Figures, and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes can't stand the idea of losing the Peach State's incentives. But if he and his friends want to leave the area, conservative Governor Brian Kemp (R) won't miss them. "This is a lot of noise," he told the Savanah Morning News. "If there are some in the entertainment industry who don't want to invest here, there are others who will." Besides, he points out, "There are a fair amount of Georgia citizens who disagree with us giving them money -- through the tax incentives -- to begin with."
In the meantime, other celebrities and industry names are calling on the entertainment industry to fund more pro-abortion campaigns in the south and Midwest. But if that works out as well as it did in Alabama, Tinsel Town can save its breath. Last year, liberal groups pumped money into Dixie, determined to sink the pro-life constitutional referendum. In the end, they outspent conservatives 100:1 and still lost 59-42 percent.
Not everyone sees the world through dollar signs. But the entertainment industry obviously has a hard time understanding: most people's opinions on these issues can't be bought. Unlike Hollywood, Americans don't act for money -- they act out of conviction.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.