Major hollywood stars and studios have come together in solidarity with gay activists in outrage over legislation passed in georgia known as a film-making centre.
Hollywood’s biggest names could boycott Georgia over a proposed new law allowing state officials to refuse to carry out gay marriages.
The threat comes amid mounting anger in the film world over a so-called religious liberty bill passed by legislators in the southern American state which opponents say amounts to anti-gay bigotry.
A boycott would be a major economic blow to Georgia, whose generous tax incentives has enabled it to become a major film-making and television production hub.
The Free Exercise Protection Act, known as HB 757, was passed by its state legislature last week and is intended to prohibit state officials or pastors from being forced to perform or attend same-sex marriage ceremonies.
It would also allow faith-based organisations to deny service or employment to anyone violating their “sincerely held religious beliefs” – paving the way for discrimination in social service provision and jobs, gay rights campaigners says.
Disney, AMC Studios, Time Warner, Fox, CBS, Sony Pictures, the Weinstein Company and Discovery all say they will no longer stage productions in Georgia if Nathan Deal, the state’s governor, signs the bill into law.
Hollywood figures including Anne Hathaway, Julianne Moore, Lee Daniels, Rob Reiner and Seth MacFarlane have also said they would refuse to work in Georgia, where 248 films and TV serials were made in 2015.
Mr Deal, who has given no indication of which way he is leaving, has until May 3 to decide wether to sign or veto the bill.
The Weinstein Company called the legislation “commissioned bigotry” and said it would move a planned biopic on Richard Pryor out of Georgia if the governor signs.
The boycott threat comes after the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights activist group, urged Hollywood studios to pull out of Georgia if the bill becomes law.
“Georgia offers tax incentives for TV and film productions, and as a result, the entertainment industry has a huge economic footprint in the state,” Chad Griffin, the campaign’s president, told a Los Angeles fund-raising dinner.
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.”