Los Angeles Times

Newsom courts Hollywood, touts state’s stance on abortion

- By Wendy Lee Times staff writer Anousha Sakoui contribute­d to this report.

Amid an outcry in Hollywood over antiaborti­on laws, Gov. Gavin Newsom is urging studios to do business in California.

“Today more than ever, you have a responsibi­lity to take stock of your values — and those of your employees — when doing business in those states,” Newsom says in a political advertisem­ent that ran in Variety. “So to those in power to make decisions about where to film, where to hire, where to open new offices, we in California say: Walk the walk.”

The comments mark the latest effort by Newsom to tap into growing concerns raised by Hollywood talent and workers over states that have adopted stricter abortion laws in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in June to overturn Roe vs. Wade, which had held abortions as a constituti­onal right.

Newsom, who is up for reelection, has been calling out red state leaders for their stances on gun control, abortion and education.

In Georgia, the law bans abortions when the fetus has a detectable heartbeat, which could be as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. Georgia has been home to many Hollywood production­s including “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” “Family Feud” and “Stranger Things 4.”

Last week, hundreds of show runners and TV writers, including Shonda Rhimes and Ava DuVernay, expressed their concerns in a letter to Disney, Netflix and other studios, asking them for details on how they would support pregnant workers who are working in states with limited abortion rights.

“Currently, any pregnant person working on one of your production­s in states that have criminaliz­ed abortion does so at great risk,” according to a letter that the group sent to Netflix.

Studios including Netflix and Disney said they would reimburse travel to other states for full-time employees who work where abortion care is limited.

In his statement, Newsom touted the benefits of working in California — calling it the “freedom state” — instead of states such as Oklahoma and Georgia that have restricted abortion rights. He also expressed support for legislatio­n that would extend the state’s film and television tax credit program through 2030 and invest $1.65 billion in the program, which is funded through 2025.

“Extending this program will help ensure California’s world-renowned entertainm­ent industry continues to drive economic growth with good jobs and a diverse, inclusive workforce,” Newsom said in the statement.

California competes with states including Georgia that offer lucrative financial incentives for Hollywood production­s.

A recent report from the Los Angeles County Economic Developmen­t Corp. estimated that California lost nearly $8 billion in economic activity and 28,000 jobs due to production­s moving out of state.

California Film Commission Executive Director Colleen Bell said she believes “working in and supporting a state that violates basic freedoms is antithetic­al to the industry’s core values.”

“More than ever, California offers the best value and the best values,” Bell said in a statement.

 ?? Genaro Molina Los Angeles Times ?? GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM, shown last month with Mia Tretta, expressed support for extending film and TV tax credits and investing $1.65 billion in the program.
Genaro Molina Los Angeles Times GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM, shown last month with Mia Tretta, expressed support for extending film and TV tax credits and investing $1.65 billion in the program.

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