Studio giants Disney and Marvel have threatened to boycott Georgia as a filming location if Republican Gov. Nathan Deal signs a religious liberty bill that recently passed the state legislature.
Currently, Marvel is shooting the second installment of its Guardians of the Galaxy franchise in the state. Marvel Studios parent company, Disney, released the following statement:
Disney and Marvel are inclusive companies, and although we have had great experiences filming in Georgia, we will plan to take our business elsewhere should any legislation allowing discriminatory practices be signed into state law.
Bill HB 757 assures that religious officials' right to the free exercise of religion is protected. That includes not being forced to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies and also protects faith institutions' properties from being used for anything that violates its religious beliefs.
Because the bill also covers hiring practices by the various faith organizations, opponents view it as legalizing discrimination against the LGBT community.
If the bill is signed, or it is not vetoed, it will become a law on July 1. If Marvel holds up its end of the threat, that means it would have to move the entire production of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 out of Atlanta's Pinewood Studios where it is currently in production.
As CNET noted, a similar threat was leveled by Apple CEO Time Cook who said he would reduce the company's investments in Indiana if a similar bill was enacted there. It was signed into law in 2015. Cook has not commented on whether he made good on his threat.
Adding his voice to the mix was Ice Cube, who recently weighed in on this issue, calling the fight for religious freedom an "old, antiquated practice" of discrimination.
"It's all about inclusion in this new world," the rapper-turned-actor said ironically.