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Disney, Marvel threaten Georgia filming boycott over 'antigay' bill

Walt Disney Studios says it will move its productions elsewhere if a Georgia bill many perceive as antigay is signed into law.

"Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" is currently filming in Georgia.
James Gunn/Facebook

Update, 9:50 a.m. P.T., March 28: Georgia Governor Nathan Deal announced on Monday that he will veto House Bill 757.

Nathan Deal, the Republican governor of the state of Georgia, has a big decision to make.

He has until May 3 to either sign or veto a bill that supporters describe as defending "religious liberty" and opponents call "antigay." House Bill 757 is attracting plenty of attention from beyond the state's boundaries. Walt Disney Studios, maker of many superhero and animated films, chimed in Wednesday.

"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," Disney said in a statement.

Marvel Studios, maker of the Avengers and X-Men films, is a subsidiary of Disney.

The Georgia bill would let faith-based organizations refuse the use of property "for an event which is objectionable to such faith based organization." It would allow those organizations to refuse to provide services that "violate such faith based organization's sincerely held religious belief." This would also extend to hiring practices.

Opponents of the bill believe it would legalize discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Pinewood Studios near Atlanta is a filming hot spot for blockbusters. "Captain America: Civil War," which opens in May, was shot there in 2015. "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2," the follow-up to the 2014 superheroes-in-space hit, is currently filming at Pinewood. If the bill is signed and Disney and Marvel follow through, a major effort would be required for the production to relocate to another state.

According to Project Casting, quite a few other notable productions are filming in Georgia this month, including The CW's "Vampire Diaries" and Fox's "Sleepy Hollow."

This isn't the first time large corporations have pushed back against similar legislation. Apple CEO Tim Cook said the tech behemoth would reduce its investments in Indiana if a similar law was to go into effect in 2015. That bill was signed into law.

On March 28, Deal announced his intention to veto House Bill 757. Deal's statement on the veto says, "I do not think we have to discriminate against anyone to protect the faith-based community in Georgia of which my family and I are a part of for all of our lives." The veto comes after reports that other entertainment companies, including Netflix and AMC (maker of "The Walking Dead") were considering boycotts if the bill went into law.