Hollywood, Georgia and House Bill 481: a complicated story
September 16, 2019 7:34 AM   Subscribe

The Georgia Film Tax Credit brings hundreds of productions—and billions of dollars—to the state each year. But this past spring, a new anti-abortion law (previously) inspired a number of protests, and major Hollywood studios threatened to move their filming elsewhere. Will a boycott happen? Would it have any political effect? And what would it mean for the people who live and work in Georgia? Can Hollywood Change Georgia? Or Has It Already? Max Blau writes for The Ringer, recapping how Georgia became the "3rd coast" for movie and TV production, Hollywood's apparent indifference to other instances of weakened or lacking laws in Georgia or elsewhere, and how pro-choice states are targeting Georgia’s $10 billion film business (Bloomberg; Newsmax mirror/ copy)
posted by filthy light thief (18 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Live by the tax credit, die by the tax credit.
posted by higginba at 8:31 AM on September 16, 2019 [10 favorites]

“[They were] using us, and our jobs, as political footballs, to make whatever fucking point they want to make. And we had no control.” —Set decoration buyer Sara Riney

I have a lot of friends in the Atlanta film industry and my partner and I expect to end up joining them in the coming years. It has been agonizing to deal with the "boycott Georgia, they deserve it" gloating from liberals who do not understand the backbone of this film industry (everything from local actors to mechanics that service fleet vehicles) is largely women/LGBTQ+/POC.

This attitude hooks into a lot of reactions to just abandon the South, and it's incredibly isolating for those of us who live here and work to make it a better place.
posted by Wossname at 9:19 AM on September 16, 2019 [23 favorites]

Some of the rhetoric is isolating - especially given the correlation between the Southern states and the country's minority population centers - but as a Southerner, historically and in the present day, I'll say that sometimes we need that outside pressure, and if it's between human rights and some jobs, it's okay if the scale doesn't come down on the jobs side.
posted by Selena777 at 10:06 AM on September 16, 2019 [19 favorites]

sorta seems like the intention is to drive away Hollywood and then use Georgia as ground-zero for faith-based film, funded by Chik-fil-a money, given the way things have been playing out
posted by zenwerewolf at 11:54 AM on September 16, 2019 [3 favorites]

posted by Spathe Cadet at 12:12 PM on September 16, 2019 [2 favorites]

Too bad, so sad...

If the government of a state, chooses to take positions that are evil, with the support of the electorate... Fuck 'em

Bummer for your friends, and you, Wossname, but... What better solutions exist that will effect changes? Losing a few billion dollars in revenue tends to get folks attention. Simply going along, well, we've seen how that works out.
posted by Windopaene at 12:31 PM on September 16, 2019 [6 favorites]

Yeah, I mean, literally the only thing Republicans listen to is money.
posted by Fleebnork at 12:41 PM on September 16, 2019 [5 favorites]

If the government of a state, chooses to take positions that are evil, with the support of the electorate... Fuck 'em

Perhaps you are unfamiliar with the extent of voter suppression in Georgia? Perhaps you don't know the history of voting rights in the US and how the current voter suppression in Georgia just reflects that history? Perhaps you don't know that we all vote using black box voting machines that run Windows 2000 and provide no paper receipt to confirm the vote or allow a recount? Perhaps you are unfamiliar with our 2016 governor's race in which the Republican candidate was also the Secretary of State overseeing the election? Perhaps you don't know that he still won with only 50.2% of the vote? Perhaps you don't know that our state is 40% people of color?

Surely, if you knew all those things, you wouldn't look at the 48.8% of us who didn't vote for these assholes and say "Fuck 'em"?
posted by hydropsyche at 3:24 PM on September 16, 2019 [27 favorites]

What hydropsyche said. Seriously, Windopaene, you should rethink that comment.

I moved here from solid blue Seattle to find myself in solid blue Atlanta (well, Doraville, close enough). And it's infuriating to be told we should just suck it up while a boycott hurts the exact people the GOP is trying to hurt as well.
posted by litlnemo at 4:44 PM on September 16, 2019 [2 favorites]

Voter suppression in Georgia is terrible, and of course a boycott like this it would hurt people, and "too bad so sad" is a bit too blasé, but....

As mentioned before, money is literally the only thing Republicans care about, and the abortion bill is terrible, and I say this as someone who lives in Georgia. There are not a lot of tools we have to make the legislature rethink this affront to human rights, and at least in this case there is something that can be done, as opposed to the multiple other states also trying to get/that have already gotten abortion restricting bills passed.
posted by JHarris at 5:27 PM on September 16, 2019 [8 favorites]

Yeah no...

Either you do something to get the 51.2% percent of bad people to change, or you don't.

complaining about voter suppression, which is blatantly obvious, doesn't change anything. I know the shit the bad side is doing. I don't see the 48.8% doing anything to stop it. Maybe you are doing something, but it isn't working.

Maybe if more of us Seattlites move to Georgia, it will turn into a wonderful place. But until it does, economic pressure seems to work pretty well.

There are plenty of places to work in film that aren't Georgia. No one would be going there to make films if it weren't for the State tax credit. State. Government. Which also acts in about all the worst ways a state government can act, in terms of, well, nearly any issue we support (overall) here on the blue.

Have you vehemently posted against boycotts against Hannity's advertisers, etc.? I'm guessing not.
posted by Windopaene at 11:39 PM on September 16, 2019

There's a difference between saying "I can't be a part of this state because the legislation is unjust" and openly glorying in the suffering of the population of people living in that state who are, nominally, on your motherfucking side.

What is wrong with you? What Republicans does it hurt to cheer on Georgia's suffering while progressive Georgians are the only ones in the room? Is it worth breaking coalitions with progressive Southerners to express that kind of "too bad, so sad" gloating?

Look. There is a difference between making a choice that will hurt people because you think it's better than not making the choice and seeing more people get hurt... and watching someone else make a choice and reveling in the harm that will come to the entire region as a result. If you think that the latter is wise, your political instincts are bad, because you wind up alienating people who should be your allies for no fucking reason. At the very least, even if you don't care about the many people who are trying to roll back Georgia's regressive state legislature from within in the face of voter suppression, consider that it makes remarkably bad optics.
posted by sciatrix at 4:33 AM on September 17, 2019 [7 favorites]

Less calmly: man, I go to deliver testimonials trying to prevent my regressive, voter suppressing state legislature from hurting my fellow state residents worse on my fucking lunch break, and I appreciate external criticism that gives me ammunition to pressure that legislature.

What you're doing isn't fucking that, so stop assuming that every progressive on the Blue is lucky enough to live in a state where we control the state government already. Either help us overthrow the regime or be quiet and get out of the way while red-state progressives organize.
posted by sciatrix at 4:38 AM on September 17, 2019 [7 favorites]

I know the shit the bad side is doing. I don't see the 48.8% doing anything to stop it. Maybe you are doing something, but it isn't working.

If you don't live in Georgia, then how would you see what's happening here? If you did live here, a state with a long history of racism and hidebound religious views, you wouldn't be so dismissive. Even in the rural parts of the state there are open-minded people, and you can usually count of African-American residents, of which we have many, to not vote Republican at least, if they aren't kept away from the polls by some means. And those means, while rife and arguably favored by Governor Kemp (may he rapidly lose office in disgrace), are not yet returned to the bad old days before the 60s.

In summary, whether you support a boycott or not, please don't belittle the whole state like that. The roots of change must run deep, and they take time to grow.
posted by JHarris at 4:56 AM on September 17, 2019 [9 favorites]

Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?
posted by Huffy Puffy at 6:16 AM on September 17, 2019

I know the shit the bad side is doing. I don't see the 48.8% doing anything to stop it. Maybe you are doing something, but it isn't working.

It's one thing to make an argument that it's a necessary tactic worth the unintended effect on the innocent - as one always has to do with broad boycotts - but I'm not sure why you'd feel compelled to escalate to trying to blame literally everyone in the state instead?
posted by atoxyl at 8:13 AM on September 17, 2019 [6 favorites]

We've been marching in the streets for years. We have been organizing get out the vote efforts for years--Atlanta is literally the birthplace of the movement.

Right this minute, if you'd like to help, you could donate to Stacey Abrams' Fair Fight or Georgia ACLU to help with our lawsuits against the crooked 2018 election and against the purchase of new, insecure black box voting machines to replace the old ones. Depending on how you'd like to help, other worthy organizations include New Georgia Project, Georgia NAACP, Asian Americans Advancing Justice Atlanta, Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, the Feminist Women's Health Center, and Georgia Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

Or you could come down here and help organize and fight.

Or you can just sit back from your place of privilege and insult us. That's certainly easier, I guess.
posted by hydropsyche at 9:27 AM on September 17, 2019 [13 favorites]

Have you vehemently posted against boycotts against Hannity's advertisers, etc.?

Individual boycotts don't work, unless they're by local people against a local organization or company. Institutional boycotts can work. Sending ire to Hannity's advertisers might convince them to change their buying habits; just refusing to buy Starkist Tuna, Bayer aspirin, or Progressive insurance isn't going to convince them to drop Hannity.

It is quite possible that the only thing that will convince the straight white men who want to control women's bodies to change the current laws, is to cut off a whole lot of money from the state. However, this does hurt a whole lot of people who are the reason people are protesting laws in Georgia in the first place. This may be a necessary stage; it should not be an occasion for glee.

There is no call for saying, "those people can just suffer, if they couldn't be arsed to fix gerrymandering, voter suppression, and corrupt ballot-counting with the tools that they've been allowed access to."

Even the suffering of diehard "deplorable" MAGAhatters is not cause for glee. The idea for most of us on this side is not, "OUR people should be in charge, and THOSE OTHER people should be the ones suffering." It should be, "We want to reduce suffering for everyone." We just happen to believe that "white guy is no longer the center of attention" is not a form of suffering.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 7:38 PM on September 18, 2019 [5 favorites]

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