In a recent interview with Deadline, The Walking Dead‘s Norman Reedus shared his views on Georgia‘s governor Nathan Deal; yet another dissenting voice in Hollywood that pressured Deal to ultimately not sign The Free Exercise Protection Act.
If signed, the bill would have offered unprecedented protections to any faith-based business that felt like providing services to same-sex couples violates their religious faith.
The popular AMC series films primarily in Georgia.
Several major studios, including Disney and Marvel, had threatened to stop all production work in Georgia if Deal signed the bill. Netflix promised to boycott Georgia if the bill passes, and Fox, Lionsgate, and Sony said they’d strongly consider doing the same.
$1.7 billion was spent on productions in Georgia in 2015 alone; 247 movie and television projects in all.
“I definitely think he shouldn’t sign it,” Reedus said, mere days before Deal ultimately announced he would not be signing. “I support the network and I support all the other companies that are against it. My fingers are crossed and I’m hoping for the best that he won’t sign it.”
He was just one of many Hollywood players who protested the bill. Deadline Hollywood reports that Weinstein Company, Starz, and Time-Warner voiced their displeasure with The Free Exercise Protection Act, as did power players like Lee Daniels and Aaron Sorkin.
A long list of major talents had signed a letter urging the governor to veto the bill. Headed up by the Human Rights Campaign, the letter includes the signatures of Matt Bomer, Dustin Lance Black, Anne Hathaway, Julianne Moore, Ryan Murphy and Harvey Weinstein, who threatened to stop shooting his Richard Pryor biopic in Georgia if the bill passes.
AMC Networks provided the following statement:
As a company, AMC Networks believes that discrimination of any kind is reprehensible. We applaud Governor Deal’s leadership in resisting a previous version of this divisive legislation and urge him to reject the current version as well.”
Due to the pressure, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal ultimately said on Monday that he would veto the legislation.
The Republican announced his decision during a news conference in his office at the Georgia Capitol, saying, “I have examined the protections that this bill proposes to provide to the faith based community and I can find no examples of any of those circumstances occurring in our state.”
Deal added, “I do not think that we have to discriminate against anyone to protect the faith-based community in Georgia.”