$52 Billion Mass Media Conglomerate Warns, 'We Will Plan to Take Our Business Elsewhere'
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The Walt Disney Company today is speaking out against an anti-gay "religious freedom" bill Georgia lawmakers recently passed, warning Republican Governor Nathan Deal if he signs it they will leave the Peach State.
"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," a Disney spokesperson told GLAAD.
The Georgia First Amendment Defense Act, also known as FADA – like many "religious freedom" bills that have been making their way around the nation's legislatures this year – makes anti-LGBT discrimination legal by providing special protections for people who wish to claim their religious faith prohibits them from performing certain acts. The newest version of the bill "protects" taxpayer-funded faith-based organizations.
"Disney is demonstrating its values and leadership by condemning Georgia's 'license to discriminate’ bill,” GLAAD's President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said. “Disney is the first studio to speak out, but not the last. Now, Governor Deal needs to demonstrate his leadership by vetoing a law that would harm not only LGBT Georgians, but the growing entertainment industry that supports Georgia's economy."
Americans United for Separation of Church and State analyzed a version of the legislation, and concluded the bill "allows any individual or 'faith-based' business, non-profit entity, or taxpayer-funded organization to ignore any law that conflicts with their religious beliefs about marriage."
GLAAD notes that still remaining silent are these other studios: Bravo, CW, Hulu, Investigation Discovery, Fox, FX, Lifetime, NBC, Netflix, Oxygen, Paramount Pictures, Starz, TriStar Pictures, USA Network, and Universal Pictures.
Chris Johnson at The Washington Blade reports the producer of "The Walking Dead," AMC Networks, is joining the call to veto the bill:
“As a company, AMC Networks believes that discrimination of any kind is reprehensible,” said Jim Maiella, an AMC spokesperson. “We applaud Gov. Deal’s leadership in resisting a previous version of this divisive legislation and urge him to reject the current version as well.”
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