John Legend has joined the long list of big stars pushing for film and TV production bosses to boycott U.S. states that have recently passed strict anti-abortion legislation.
The singer is urging studio chiefs to refrain from shooting projects in states like Georgia, Louisiana, and Alabama, where new laws severely restrict the rights of women seeking abortions.
“Particularly when these studios are hiring people and bringing people to the state and saying, ‘Come work with us here in this state,’ but if you get pregnant there you’re going to be treated like a second-class citizen,” the R&B star told the Associated Press.
“That’s a tough conversation to have with your staff,” he continued. “And so I think hopefully the pressure that the studios are putting on will help Georgia and other states see the error of their ways.”
While Legend is unsure the boycotts will be enough to effect legal change, he is certain the financial impact will be enough to make a serious impact. Officials for the state of Georgia reported in 2017 that the massive surge in film and TV production boosted its economy by an estimated $9.5 billion (£7.5 billion) that year alone.
“I don’t know that it will definitely work, but I know that money talks,” the All of Me hitmaker added.
The new laws have also been attacked by stars like Spike Lee, Lady Gaga, Reese Witherspoon and Rihanna, while Ghostbusters star Kristen Wiig has already decided against filming her new film, Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar, in Georgia.
The protests were prompted by the passing of strict new legislation, termed the “heartbeat bill”, which will outlaw abortions from the time a fetal heartbeat is detected – usually when a woman is about six weeks pregnant.
Director Reed Morano also cancelled a trip to the state to scout locations for a new Amazon show, The Power, telling Time, “There is no way we would ever bring our money to that state by shooting there.”
Jason Bateman, J.J. Abrams and Jordan Peele, as well as other film and TV heavyweights, have also pledged to take their entertainment business out of the state in protest over the bill.
Meanwhile, Ben Stiller, Amy Schumer, Christina Applegate, and Alec Baldwin have signed a letter addressed to Georgia’s Governor, Brian Kemp, who signed the bill into law, pledging they would “do everything in our power to move our industry to a safer state for women.”