Disney, as a rule, does its best to stay far away from political statements, for a pretty obvious reason: People mad at you about your stances on public policy won’t give you money for a brand new Mickey hat (or Avengers movie, as it were). The situation has to be pretty dire for the House Of Mouse to let its feelings get in the way of its money, which is what made it somewhat surprising to see the company’s president, Bob Iger, make it clear in an interview this week that the massive entertainment conglomerate will likely pull its productions out of Georgia if the state’s draconian new abortion law goes into effect.
“I don’t see how it’s practical for us to continue to shoot there,” Iger said when asked about the state’s so-called “heartbeat” law, which bans abortions after the six-week point of pregnancy. (Which is often, due to the way this sort of thing is calculated, far less than six weeks after conception.) The Disney head framed the decision as one of practicality in regards to the company’s workforce: “I think many people who work for us will not want to work there,” he noted. “And we will have to heed their wishes in that regard. Right now we are watching it very carefully.”
Hollywood’s influence in Georgia state politics has been a much-discussed topic over the last few years; the state offers considerable tax benefits to productions shooting within its borders, which is why, say, Black Panther filmed there a few years back. Disney exerted similar pressure (along with several other major studios) around that same time, when the state was considering a bill attempting to police which public restrooms trans people could use; the state legislature eventually backed down, but that was, of course, one extremely dispiriting national election ago.
Disney is following in the footsteps of Netflix—never a look that this company especially loves, but sometimes that’s just the way things go—with Iger’s comments; the streaming service told reporters earlier this week that it was reconsidering its plans to film in Georgia thanks to the law, which—like similar laws in several other states—was passed earlier this year as part of a concerted effort to re-legislate Roe V. Wade before the Supreme Court.