Like a star-crossed lover on the big screen, Hollywood played a supporting role in Stacey Abrams’ campaign to become Georgia’s next governor. Celebs hosted lavish fundraisers in California and New York. Comedian/actor Will Ferrell and the Queen of All Media herself, Oprah Winfrey, entered stage left to stump Georgia for the liberal choice in the race for governor.
But this time, the movie had no happy ending for Tinsel Town. In the final reel, their heroine lost to Republican Brian Kemp.
Jilted by those results, Hollywood is now calling for a boycott of Georgia.
In her concession speech, which she insisted was not a concession speech, Abrams sought to undermine the legitimacy of Kemp’s election.
“Under the watch of the now former Secretary of State, democracy failed Georgia,” Abrams said, claiming Kemp engaged in “the suppression of the people’s democratic right to vote” in action that “was deliberate and intentional.”
“I know that eight years of systematic disenfranchisement, disinvestment and incompetence had its desired effect on the electoral process in Georgia,” she said.
Hollywood actors and insiders picked up on Abrams’ words and are now threatening to boycott Georgia’s film industry.
“To all my friends who are studio and network executives, if you choose to shoot movies and tv in Georgia, don’t bother to call me,” Ron Perlman of “Sons of Anarchy” and “Hellboy” fame posted in a tweet.
Alyssa Milano observed on Twitter that there are over 20 productions currently filming in Georgia.
“Is the entertainment industry willing to support the economy of a totally corrupt state that suppresses democracy; where the winner isn’t the best choice for the people but the best schemer or crook?” said Milano, who played Tony Danza’s daughter on “Who’s the Boss?”
In a snarl that makes one worry for his health, Bradley Whitford, who starred on “The West Wing,” posted that “Brian Kemp is a corrupt, homophobic, unapologetic disenfranchiser of African American voters. If he seizes power, Hollywood needs to use it’s (sic) leverage and pull out of Georgia. Studios need to put their money where their mouth is and stand up to hate.”
Wow. There’s nothing quite like Hollywood celebrities, mounted on high horses, lecturing Georgians about their choice for governor.
Hollywood enjoys making movies in the Peach State. Georgia ranks as the No. 2 place to film a movie last year. (Ranked first was Canada — the place these left wing celebrities always promise to move to when a Republican is elected president. That they never fulfill that promise and actually move to Canada is curious and often regrettable, but back to the issue at hand.)
Film L.A. Inc., a nonprofit advocacy group for the Los Angeles-area film industry that compiled the rankings, attributes Georgia’s popularity as a film location in large part to the state’s tax incentive program for film and television production. Georgia offers a 20-percent transferable tax credit for in-state spending plus an additional 10 percent in credits if the production includes a Georgia promotional logo in the film credits.
Always looking to save a buck, the film companies have eagerly flocked here, last year shooting such blockbusters as “Baby Driver,” “Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2” and “Spider-Man: Homecoming.”
Georgia’s popularity as a destination for film-making is welcomed as the productions provide economic development with jobs and tourism. But as actor Jacob York said on Twitter in response to the celebrity boycott, “When you say #boycottgeorgia, you boycott me paying rent. You boycott me paying for braces, and trying to make a living. All the artists I know in Georgia are mad as hell. But you saying ‘boycott Georgia’ primarily hurts people who already agree with you.”
Hear that, Ron Perlman?
The principal claim made by the Abrams camp is that Brian Kemp was Georgia’s secretary of state during the election and that he used his office to suppress votes. But as David French correctly writes in National Review, “If Georgia’s Brian Kemp is a vote suppressor, he’s the least successful vote suppressor alive. Turnout in Georgia was immense. In the previous gubernatorial election, Republican Nathan Deal won with 1.3 million votes. In November, Abrams lost with 1.9 million votes. There were roughly 2.5 million total votes cast in 2014. In 2018, more than 3.9 million Georgians voted. That almost matches the total votes cast for president in 2016.”
The Abrams camp never tires of claiming that Kemp “purged” citizens from the voter lists, rendering them ineligible to vote — a misleading argument at best. State law – not Brian Kemp – sets the stage for purging voter rolls.
Janine Eveler, director of the Cobb County Board of Elections, explained that according to O.C.G.A. § 21-2-235 (b) …
“Voters who have had no contact with the registrars for three calendar years are mailed a confirmation notice (the state does this only in odd-numbered years).
“If these voters do not respond within 40 days, they are moved to inactive status.
“After two general federal elections (at least three calendar years), these voters are moved to canceled status (this also happens in the odd year).
“Any contact by a voter while in an inactive status, including voting, signing a petition or updating the registration, immediately returns the voter to active status.
“Depending on when the programs are run and because it is an off-year activity, the total time to be cancelled is normally around 7-8 years from the last activity.”
Some believe the law is too restrictive. But it’s not a new law and it’s one the U.S. Supreme Court upheld this year. If you don’t like the law, lobby the General Assembly to change it. But don’t spread alarmist conspiracy theories about voter suppression because you don’t like the outcome of an election.
In true Southern hospitality, Georgia welcomes Hollywood. Come and film our beautiful landscapes. Shoot your movies against the backdrop of our quaint downtowns. Take advantage of the Peach State’s tax breaks.
Just stay out of our politics.
And as for the Ron Perlman-Alyssa Milano set, Delta is ready when you are.