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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Pro-lifers urged to boycott Disney and Netflix

Pro-lifers have been urged to boycott Disney and Netflix after the companies threatened to pull film production in Georgia over the US state’s new abortion law, which protects the unborn after a heartbeat is detected.

Georgia’s heartbeat bill, which is due to come into effect on 1st January 2020, outlaws terminations in cases where a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which can be as early as six weeks.

Georgia has been dubbed the ‘Hollywood of the South’ after it lured production companies with favourable tax laws and the Walt Disney Company has shot some of its biggest films in the state, including Black Panther and Avengers: Endgame.

However, Bob Iger, Disney’s chief executive, said it would be “very difficult” for the entertainment giant to continue working in the state if the bill comes into force.

Speaking to Reuters, Iger said: “If it becomes law, it’ll be very difficult. I think many people who work for us will not want to work there, and we will have to heed their wishes in that regard. Right now we are watching it very carefully.”

Netflix has also warned it could pull out of the state. Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, said: “Given the legislation has not yet been implemented, we will continue to film there — while also supporting partners and artists who choose not to. Should it ever come into effect, we’d rethink our entire investment in Georgia.”

Bernadette Smyth, founder and spokesperson for Precious Life, the largest pro-life group in Northern Ireland, strongly criticised both companies for their “scare tactics and intimidation”, which she said is “entirely unacceptable and will not go down well with many pro-life customers”.

She warned both companies that their threats to pull their business from Georgia will “work both ways”.

“It is just as likely that customers too will rethink their investment in such companies and will stop subscribing, watching their productions and giving them their hard-earned money,” Mrs Smyth told The Catholic Universe. “In the wake of these announcements, we’ve already seen a flurry of social media posts from people saying they’ll happily stop supporting these companies who are using their power to aggressively advocate abortion, the killing of defenceless unborn babies in the womb.

“Precious Life have been inundated on our own social media channels and over email with people of all ages and backgrounds contacting us to tell us they are boycotting these companies with immediate effect.”

Picture: A Disney store in London’s Oxford Street. (Sean Dempsey/PA).