Gov. Newsom courts touts California as ‘freedom state’

Amid Hollywood outcry over anti-abortion laws, California Gov. Gavin Newsom is urging studios to do business in California.

“Now more than ever, you have a responsibility to take stock of your assets — and those of your people — when doing business in these states,” Newsom said in a political ad that ran in Variety. “To those in power to make decisions about where to film, where to hire, where to open new offices, we say in California: walk the walk.”

The comments mark Newsom’s recent efforts to capitalize on growing concerns from Hollywood talent and workers about states that have enacted tougher abortion laws after the Supreme Court ruled in June to overturn Roe vs. Wade, which had abortions constitutional Right.

Newsom, who is running for re-election, has called out the leaders of the Red States for their stance on gun control, abortion and education.

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

Last week, hundreds of showrunners and television writers, including Shonda Rhimes and Ava DuVernay, expressed their concerns in a letter to Disney, Netflix and other studios, asking for details on how they would support pregnant workers working in labor-restricted states abortion rights.

“Right now, any pregnant person working on one of your productions in states that have criminalized abortion is at great risk,” the group said in a letter to Netflix.

Studios like Netflix and Disney said they would reimburse travel to other states for full-time employees working where abortion treatment is limited.

In his statement, Newsom touted the benefits of working in California rather than states like Texas and Georgia, which 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 would be funded through 2025.

“The extension of 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 like Georgia that offer lucrative financial incentives for Hollywood productions. A recent report by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation estimated that California lost nearly $8 billion in economic activity and 28,000 jobs as manufacturing moved out of the state.

Colleen Bell, executive director of the California Film Commission, said she believes “working in and supporting a state that violates fundamental liberties is contrary to the core values ​​of the industry.”

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

Staff writer Anousha Sakoui contributed to this report. Gov. Newsom courts touts California as ‘freedom state’

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