Watch at the Los Angeles HRC Gala as HRC President Chad Griffin addresses 1,000 supporters and leaders in the entertainment industry and calls on Hollywood to stop productions in Georgia if Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal doesn’t veto the new Indiana-style "license to discriminate" bill passed by the state legislature last week.
Griffin said, “I know we have many entertainment industry leaders in the room tonight. Like other states, Georgia offers tax incentives for TV and film productions, and as a result, the entertainment industry has a huge economic footprint in the state. But if this bill is signed into law, your employees, your contractors -- all those working on your production are at risk of state-sanctioned discrimination. That is wrong. It’s un-American. It’s an affront on all the values Hollywood prides itself on. And you have the influence and the opportunity to not only defeat this bill, but to send a message that there are consequences to passing dangerous and hateful laws like this. And so tonight, we're asking you to join us as we urge TV and film studios, directors and producers, to commit to locating no further productions in the state of Georgia if this bill becomes law.”
According to the State of Georgia, which offers major tax incentives for entertainment companies to film in the state, at least 248 film and television productions were shot in Georgia during the state’s 2015 fiscal year. This resulted in at least $1.7 billion in direct spending as well as more than 100 new businesses relocating to or expanding in Georgia to support these activities.
In his remarks, Griffin also called on the Senate to hold a hearing on President Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, saying:
“I don't have to tell the people in this room how important the Supreme Court is. We have seen what can happen when our rights are left up to a vote. Time and again we have had to fight all the way to the nation’s highest court to achieve and protect our basic Constitutional rights and protections. There's no doubt that Merrick Garland is a highly qualified candidate. President Obama has done his job. Now it's time for Senate Republicans to do theirs. Americans deserve a full Supreme Court bench, and the President's nominee deserves a hearing.”