Although voting in the midterm elections has at this point long concluded, many are still making sense of the cascade of issues and results that the elections covered. In Georgia, mass amounts of voters faced suppression efforts from Secretary of State — and Governor-elect — Brian Kemp, and in response, the list of celebrities supporting boycotting entertainment industry productions in Georgia is continuing to grow.
Late last week, addressing Kemp’s Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams directly, actor Ron Perlman commented:
‘Your great and inspiring run was snuffed out by cheating, and suppression, both things that run counter to the American way. I cannot see myself working in a state that tolerates that… there are countless States that play by the rules and honor the sanctity of one man/one vote, regardless of skin color. I’ll invest my time in those!!!!!’
In fiscal year 2017, well over $2.5 billion was spent on film productions in Georgia, up from just $67.7 million a decade earlier. That 2017 spending translated to some $9.5 billion in “economic impact.”
In mid-2017, FilmL.A. asserted that the state was the leading filming location in the world, with over 300 productions unfolding in the state in the previous twelve months alone. Those efforts included big name movies and television shows like installments in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and AMC’s “The Walking Dead.” The booming Georgia film industry had over 40,000 people employed directly in production or in production related jobs in mid-2017.
Still, Perlman isn’t alone in his distrust of the state in the wake of the rise of Brian Kemp. Others joining him include “The West Wing” actor Bradley Whitford, “Charmed” and “Insatiable” actress Alyssa Milano, HBO producer Frank Rich, and “Rescue Me” actor Steven Pasquale, all of whom have been involved in productions well beyond those mentioned.
As Whitford put it earlier in November:
‘Brian Kemp is a corrupt, homophobic, unapologetic disenfranchiser of African American voters. If he seizes power, Hollywood needs to use it’s leverage and pull out of Georgia. Studios need to put their money where their mouth is and stand up to hate. #boycottgeorgia’
Abrams has, for her part, urged concerned interests like the aforementioned celebs to keep themselves involved in the Georgian economy, asserting:
‘The hard-working Georgians who serve on crews & make a living here are not to blame. I promise: We will fight – and we will win.’
To be sure, it’s hardly clear what direction the comments to the contrary will take from here. The history of Georgia under Brian Kemp is continuing to be written.
During his rise to power, he suppressed the vote through means including a reported “purging” of more than 1.5 million names from the state’s voter registration database, which translates to the elimination of more than ten percent of the state’s voters.
Kemp’s office also — among other issues — delayed tens of thousands of majority black American voter registrations as the election grew ever closer, citing concerns about a lack of “exact match” with state records.
These issues correlated with a narrow winning margin for Kemp of barely one percent, and it’s difficult to imagine that the outcome would have been the same if tens to hundreds of thousands of eligible voters were able to have their votes tallied.
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