Earlier this year, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed a law effectively banning abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy. Needless to say, reproductive rights advocates were very upset, and they weren’t the only ones. Media giants including Netflix, Disney, NBC Universal, Sony and CBS threatened to reconsider all affiliations with states that approve of “heartbeat bills” like Georgia’s. The first TV show to drop plans for filming in the state was Amazon’s “The Power.” Director Reed Morano told Time Magazine, “There is no way we would ever bring our money to that state by shooting there.”
These days, it’s not surprising for big brands, like Target and Gillette, to use products or advertising to establish their wokeness. But the move by studios and streaming services to boycott locations linked to politics they don’t support? That’s an as-yet unproven and controversial tactic Hollywood is using to take a stand.
As we keep an eye on future developments around the Georgia abortion ban set for 2020, we thought we’d also take a look back. What can we learn from recent moves by Hollywood to change the world, one red carpet — or Twitter thread — at a time?
1. Actresses wear black to the 2018 Golden Globes
Meryl Streep, America Ferrera, Kerry Washington, Viola Davis and other stars wore black to the 2018 award show to stand in solidarity with sexual assault survivors. While the move raised awareness of the Times Up campaign, just a couple months later Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in as a United States Supreme Court justice despite very public allegations of misconduct.
2. We Are All Dreamers campaign
After President Trump threatened to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which offers protections to children of undocumented parents, celebrities including Britney Spears, Selena Gomez, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Mark Ruffalo posted pictures of themselves wearing “We Are All Dreamers” t-shirts. Hard to say whether the display of support made a difference, but the U.S. Supreme Court has decided to hold off until its next term to weigh in on whether the Dream Act will continue.
3. Supporting stricter gun laws after Parkland
When Florida lawmakers failed to ban assault rifles after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Ben Platt, Jenna Fischer and Alyssa Milano were among the celebrities who praised student activists or joined March for Our Lives demonstrations. Since then, activism has spread. After the March, other campaigns such as Road For Change are bringing gun activism to all parts of the country.
4. Protesting the “border crisis”
From ICE raids to inhumane detention centers to family separations, there’s plenty for celebrities to speak out about on immigration rights. While many take to social media to protest, some are actually traveling to the border to provide aid. Actresses Evan Rachel Wood, Lena Dunham, Constance Wu and others have visited, offered support and donated materials to families. Despite the “cancellation” of the family-child separation policy, children at the border are still being separated and serious reform has yet to happen. Social media has been promoting the Know Your Rights Campaign and stories of those being mistreated at the border.
Celebrity platforms reach far and wide, which is why a simple tweet can spur a political movement. In Georgia, the ACLU is suing to stop the fetal heartbeat ban from ever going into effect. As the studios that have taken a public stand against it decide where to shoot their shows, fans will be watching.