Entertainers call for boycotting Georgia over voting law
Culture | Hollywood throws its political weight around, again
by Megan Basham
Posted 3/30/21, 04:12 pm
Oscar-nominated director James Mangold (Logan, Ford v. Ferrari) kicked off the pushback Thursday, only hours after Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed Senate Bill 202. Also known as the Election Integrity Act, the bill requires a government-issued ID to vote, prohibits anyone other than a poll worker from providing free food or drink to voters waiting in line, and extends early voting by four days. Critics of the law say the requirements will make it harder for minority voters to cast their ballots.
Mangold, who is set to direct the latest Indiana Jones movie, announced on Twitter that he would not film any future projects in the state. “Georgia has been using cash to steal movie jobs from other states that allow people to vote,” he tweeted. “I don’t want to play there.”
Other entertainment professionals took up Mangold’s call, including Star Wars actor Mark Hamill, whose career has resurged in recent years thanks to Disney’s successful relaunch of the franchise. Hamill signaled his agreement with the hashtag #NoMoreFilmingInGeorgia.
Some Hollywood insiders argued against an industry boycott, claiming it would hurt the people who delivered Senate wins to Democrats at the beginning of the year. “While I understand the instinct, I hope you’ll reconsider and seek guidance on the best way forward from those who have been doing the work on the ground there—Black women in particular,” black producer Franklin Leonard replied to Mangold. Rod Lurie, director of movies such as The Outpost, said that while he understands his colleague’s feelings, such a decision means “denying work to many of the people who are our allies (in this matter).”
Some conservatives pointed out the hypocrisy of Hollywood shunning the state.
“You filmed Star Wars in Tunisia where the government pulls men off the street just for ‘looking’ gay, forcibly sodomizes them, and throws them in prison,” Joshua Herr, general counsel for The Daily Wire, which is moving into filmmaking, replied to Hamill. And conservative writer-director-actor Nick Searcy (Justified, Gosnell) retweeted British actor Matthew Marsden: “Typical selfishness. An actor calling for a boycott won’t really effect the actor … but all the below the line people that rely on productions to feed their families.”
Other entertainment sectors could join Tinseltown in bringing pressure to bear on the state.
Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark told The Boston Globe that players are “very much aware” of the Election Integrity Act, and he is open to having a conversation about moving the July All-Star Game to another state. Sports writers at CNN, the Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post have all called for Atlanta to lose the exhibition.
The PGA Tour is also seeing a flurry of demands that it penalize Georgia by relocating the Masters tournament from its traditional home, the Augusta National Golf Club. National Black Justice Coalition executive director David J. Johns told Golfweek that he expects officials from the PGA Tour and the Masters to speak out against the law and take action. The group is asking professional golfers to refuse to play in the state.
Recent history indicates entertainment industry boycotts can get states to reverse legislative course. North Carolina lost a number of concerts and games in 2016-2017, including the NBA All-Star Game, after it enacted a bill that required individuals to use public bathrooms that corresponded with their biological sex when the bathrooms were multioccupancy. That law was later repealed.
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Megan is film and television editor for WORLD and co-host for WORLD Radio. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate and author of Beside Every Successful Man: A Woman's Guide to Having It All. Megan resides with her husband, Brian Basham, and their two daughters in Charlotte, N.C. Follow her on Twitter on @megbasham.