That Netflix is unique among other similar companies may sound strange to you. There are more online streaming services, you might say. Yeah, that's right, the entertainment giant isn't alone in these parts. What makes Netflix unique is its firm stance against the anti-abortion law that has just been passed in some U.S. And it is that they are the only company, seriously, the only entertainment company to take a stand. Hopefully, Netflix will be the first of many...
Netflix's example should be followed by companies throughout the United States (and beyond). It has made it clear that women's rights are not negotiable. And I say that others should follow in its footsteps because it is clear that applying pressure works. What will happen to Georgia's economy if Netflix withdraws all its productions in the state?
The company has been blunt: if the controversial anti-abortion law is passed, the brand will "rethink its investment" in the area. An investment amount that is not anything to be sniffed at, mind you. According to official figures, the film and television industry last year reported 92,000 jobs, about 455 audiovisual productions and had an economic impact of $9 billion in production. What if others followed suit? And yes, I'm talking about Disney, HBO, Viacom, Amazon Studios and a long list of others...
And it would be very easy to do what is right, as it also happens with the Google Play Store and the controversial and terrible app in Saudi Arabia which has a sole purpose to control women. Come on, to take refuge in the law of the corresponding states is to do nothing and to be a coward. Human rights should be above all these things, and the big companies should show all their support in backing them, which then adds to the chorus of individuals saying they are pro-women, pro-gay, pro-everything. But, if the money keeps flowing, there won't be an incentive to do the right thing.
Or, would Google have removed the anti-LGBT app, had it not been for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) twisting its arm by suspending its rating in its prestigious ranking? One day was enough for the Big G to reconsider and eliminate the app. But the human rights associations were fighting for months. And still nothing...
So, yes, Netflix
Georgia is the scene of a multitude of Hollywood productions and major studios thanks to state tax incentives. Atlanta, the state capital, has become a major film center. "Stranger Things" and "The Walking Dead", to give an example that is not from Netflix, are recorded there, by the way. Some actors and directors - such as Reed Morano, responsible for the acclaimed "The Handmaid's Tale" - have already raised their voices against and called for a boycott if the law goes into effect. Alyssa Milano, one of the protagonists of "Insatiable", also of Netflix, is, in fact, one of the people behind the action. However, Netflix is the only Hollywood studio that has clearly stated its position and has put on paper the actions it will take in a letter signed by its CCO, Ted Sarandos.
“We have many women working on productions in Georgia, whose rights, along with millions of others, will be severely restricted by this law,” said Ted Sarandos, Netflix Chief Content Officer, in an exclusive statement to Variety.
Marketing strategy? Some voices already comment on that. Honestly, there may be some truth to it, although I refuse to believe it after Sarandos' words. Still, in this case, the result is the important thing. The fact that the big companies make their position clear in the face of injustice makes the issues leap to the forefront, and also, public opinion reacts calling other companies into question for not supporting them. Hopefully, others will follow. And, above all, let us hope that the law that makes women in the affected states go back 50 years in history will not be implemented. In Georgia it will be 1973, but it will be without Netflix.
Disney follows Netflix's example and joins the boycott
At the time of writing, Netflix was alone in the face of the situation. Now, Disney has followed in their footsteps. Bob Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Walt Disney Co., has confirmed that he will withdraw all productions from states that apply the new and controversial regulations. It would be "difficult" to continue producing in Georgia if the so-called "heartbeat law" comes into force, according to Iger. And to give you an idea, factory titles like "Black Panther" and "Avengers: Endgame" were shot in Georgia. The impact could be brutal.
You see? In the end, you just have to be the first for others to follow you. Being on the other side, the side against women's right to decide, can mark you forever. I trust that more and more big companies (as well as actresses and actors, of which more than 100 have already joined the boycott) will make it clear that it is not possible to live in 2019 and expect women to see their freedom restricted in such an abusive way.
.@brielarson, @PattyArquette, @1SpencerGarrett, @amysmart26, @MelissaJPeltier @GraceParra360, @halfadams, @Slack2thefuture, @mrrickywhittle, @eorlins & #NataliePortman are also telling @BrianKempGA, that #HB481IsBadForBusiness. There are now over 100 signers. pic.twitter.com/tsGTzX6xLf— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) April 1, 2019