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James Gunn, Aaron Sorkin join Hollywood's stand against Georgia's 'anti-gay' bill

Hollywood veterans urge state governor to pass on legislation

The Human Rights Campaign has rallied some of Hollywood's biggest names in its stand against proposed legislation that would allow individuals and businesses in Georgia to discriminate against LGBT people and others who go against their religious beliefs, according to a press release.

The civil rights organization issued an open letter to Governor Nathan Deal of Georgia, who has yet to pass or reject the controversial House Bill 757 (also called the "Free Exercise Protection Act"), expressing concerns about its ramifications. That statement, which was sent to Polygon, reads as follows:

"Dear Governor Deal,

As leaders in the entertainment industry, we have deep concerns about H.B. 757, which would sanction discrimination against LGBT people and others in Georgia.

As you know, Atlanta is often referred to as the Hollywood of the South. During the last fiscal year, at least 248 films and television productions were shot in Georgia, adding at least $1.7 billion in direct spending to the state's economy. Additionally, the entertainment industry helped to bring more than 100 businesses to Georgia through relocation or expansion in the past fiscal year. Only two states -- California and New York -- have a larger entertainment industry footprint and both have statewide non-discrimination protections on the books. Unfortunately, Georgia not only lacks such protections, but could soon move from a bad situation to worse with H.B. 757.

We pride ourselves on running inclusive companies, and while we have enjoyed a positive partnership on productions in Georgia, we will plan to take our business elsewhere if any legislation sanctioning discrimination is signed into state law.

We urge you to veto H.B. 757 and send a strong message that Georgia will not tolerate discrimination against citizens, employees and visitors to the state."

Among those who signed the cautionary letter are Greg Berlanti (The Flash, Supergirl), Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy), Ryan Murphy (American Horror Story) and Oscar winners like Aaron Sorkin and Anne Hathaway. Other dissenters include James Gunn, who's currently filming the Guardians of the Galaxy sequel in Atlanta, and Harvey Weinstein, often regarded as one of Hollywood's most powerful producers.

The HRC included a full list of entertainment industry members joining the boycott, seen below:

  • Ali Adler, Writer and Producer
  • Greg Berlanti, Writer and Producer
  • Matt Bomer, Actor & Simon Halls, Publicist
  • Dustin Lance Black, Screenwriter and Filmmaker
  • Bradley Bredeweg, Executive Producer and Showrunner
  • Kristin Chenoweth, Actress and Singer
  • Diablo Cody, Writer, Producer and Director
  • Bruce Cohen, Producer
  • Lee Daniels, Producer and Director
  • Dana Fox, Writer and Producer
  • John Goldwyn, Producer
  • James Gunn, Writer and Director
  • Anne Hathaway, Actress
  • Alan Hergott, Entertainment Attorney
  • Nina Jacobson, Producer
  • Dan Jinks, Producer
  • Kathy Kennedy, Producer
  • Zoe Kravitz, Actress
  • Bryan Lourd, Talent Agent
  • Seth MacFarlane, Producer and Filmmaker
  • Laurence Mark, Producer
  • Frank Marshall, Producer and Director
  • Neil Meron, Producer
  • Julianne Moore, Actress
  • Ryan Murphy, Producer
  • Peter Paige, Executive Producer and Showrunner
  • Rob Reiner, Actor, Director and Producer
  • Sarah Schechter, Producer
  • Adam Shankman, Director and Producer
  • Aaron Sorkin, Screenwriter and Producer
  • Marisa Tomei, Actress
  • Gus Van Sant, Producer and Director
  • Harvey Weinstein, Producer and Film Studio Executive
  • Craig Zadan, Producer and Director

Yesterday, Disney and Marvel announced plans to boycott the state if the bill becomes law. AMC Networks, whose The Walking Dead is set to shoot its next season in Georgia this May, later echoed this sentiment. Other major entertainment companies like Time Warner and The Weinstein Company have since followed.

HRC president Chad Griffin first spoke out about the bill, which he likened to "state-sponsored discrimination," at an organization gala in Los Angeles last weekend. "That is wrong, it's un-American," he told those gathered, many of whom were members of the entertainment industry. "It's an affront on all the values Hollywood prides itself on."

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