Filmmakers Cast Doubt in Georgia

Posted on Sun 06/02/2019 by


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On Bogren, There’s No Lifetime Guarantee    ~    

Tony Perkins   ~    

It wouldn’t be Hollywood if there weren’t drama. And in this game of chicken between Georgia and the titans of Tinsel Town, there’s more of it every day.

It was all very theatrical when Netflix, Disney, WarnerMedia, and Sony Pictures started shaking their fists at pro-life states and made hollow threats about canceling productions. For most conservatives, it was a familiar scene. The entertainment industry has been using the same script since North Carolina’s HB 2, when celebrities climbed on their moral high horses to brow beat voters who believe in privacy. Now their empty bluster is directed at the South, where governors are signing abortion bans into law faster than liberals can yell, “Cut!”

This week, Disney CEO Bob Iger trotted out the same old non-committal soundbites. They would be reevaluating their projects, he promised. “We are watching it very carefully,” he reassured his allies. But as well as Iger and others are delivering their lines, their performance isn’t getting rave reviews from an important corner — their actual film crews.

“None of us voted for this,” said one key grip in Georgia, “and we shouldn’t have to suffer because of what the politicians decided.” A fight is brewing, others agreed, if their companies pull up stakes and move out.

BuzzFeed interviewed scores of frustrated people on location in the South — some of whom are starting campaigns of their own. Callie Moore, a camera assistant who works for Starz, is launching a “Stay and Fight in Georgia” initiative. “I generally don’t agree that boycotting is the right call to make a real difference here,” Moore argued. “I think the film industry brings so much to the state of Georgia, economically and diversity-wise, and I think it does so much good for the state. The least we can do is fight back and try to keep it here.”

“It’s ultimately hurting more people than it is going to do any justice,” one person fumed. “It’s not going to affect the politicians and the actors. They’re still going to keep going to work in other places like they always have. But… it’s going to destroy us.” Even liberals like former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams are using the hashtag #Consequences to remind the industry that its bravado would mean “lost jobs for carpenters, hair dressers, food workers & 100s of small businesses grown right here.”

Georgia legislators, on the other hand, are probably tired of rolling out the red carpet to people who use them for their tax climate, only to turn around and shame them for the values that make it possible. “Disney is free to do what they please, but their stated intent is highly hypocritical,” Stephen Kent points out in the Washington Examiner. “When Hollywood’s moral values collide with dollars it’s usually no contest.” After all, he argues, there didn’t seem to be even a whiff of this outrage when Iger shook on his sweet deals overseas.

“There’s a deep display of insincerity going on anytime Hollywood studios begin boycotts of conservative states for abortion restrictions. Disney just completed production of Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker, and before that was The Last Jedi, which featured memorable scenes shot in Croatia and Bolivia. In Croatia, abortion is restricted after 10 weeks. In Bolivia, it is entirely illegal. And yet, no Disney boycott.”

Not to mention, the Wall Street Journal points out, Iger’s obvious double standard in Asia. “More than a few Americans may also notice the contradiction that Disney is more worried about filming in a U.S. state that has passed a law democratically than it is operating its theme park and hawking its films in China, which uses facial-recognition software to monitor its population and has a million Uighurs in re-education camps…”

There will be more legislators like the one in California, trying to push more studios over the hump by dangling tax breaks in front of anyone with the hutzpah to leave pro-life states. Move to a place like ours that has a better appreciation for killing babies, the bill seems to say! It’s a nice try, but whatever modest incentives California can offer will still be offset by the state’s suffocating regulations and higher costs.

In the meantime, if Iger is so disgusted by unborn children, maybe Georgians shouldn’t wait for him to leave. Maybe they should force him out altogether. Obviously, Disney’s brand of “making dreams come true” is a bygone era. “Making the Left’s agenda a reality” is more like it. Threatening the people of Georgia because they simply want to allow children to be born speaks volumes of Iger’s new Disney.

In the end, though, these executives still see the world through dollars. That’s why these CEOs’ posturing never amounts to anything. It’s all an act. And by Hollywood standards, not a very good one.

Originally Published Here

On Bogren, There’s No Lifetime Guarantee

Senate Republicans have one shot at federal judgeship right. If they’re right, the country has the benefits of years of strict originalism. If they’re wrong, Americans will pay for it — for a lifetime. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) isn’t willing to take that chance in Michael Bogren’s case, not when religious liberty is on the line.

“Lawyers have a duty to their clients,” Senator Hawley agrees, “but that’s no excuse to launch gratuitous attacks on the faithful.” And in a case against a Christian family in Michigan, that’s exactly what Michael Bogren did. His statements aren’t the stuff of years-old religious intolerance. The case that’s raising eyebrows is still ongoing. It involves a family farm, whose owners — a Catholic couple — believe in natural marriage. For that, the city of East Lansing decided they should be banned from selling their fruit at the local farmer’s market.

Michael Bogren didn’t have to take the case against the Tennes family. But when East Lansing asked him to defend their religious hostility in court, he said yes. Bogren also didn’t have to use the kind of scorched-earth language he did to characterize the family. That was his choice. He was the one who decided to compare Christians to the KKK — and then stand by that rhetoric in his confirmation hearing. No one forced him to say that the Tenneses were “para[ding]” their beliefs down a “runway of moral superiority” either. Or questioning the family’s “selective” application of faith.

The editors of the Wall Street Journal disagree. They think “Mr. Hawley’s questioning is a precedent that conservatives will regret.” Why? Because, they claim, “If nominees can be disqualified for every argument they make for a client, conservative judicial nominees will soon find themselves blocked from judgeships for defending religious liberty.” But Senator Hawley is an attorney himself. He knows that you can defend a client “without stooping to personal attacks and vicious rhetoric.”

“As attorneys, our oaths require us to do much more than advocate on our clients’ behalf. We also swear to uphold the law itself and to always conduct ourselves with integrity. And that means not launching gratuitous attacks against faith groups — especially when you represent the government. It’s one thing to advocate on behalf of your client, but Bogren went too far.”

The leaders of the Conservative Action Project agree. In a memo to the movement, signed by dozens of national leaders, they’re stunned that Republicans would even consider a man whose “religious bias lack[s] even the usual effort of thin disguise…”

“Bogren could and should have declined to answer questions regarding ongoing litigation. Instead, he chose to double down on arguments which sharply narrow the First Amendment’s protections regarding religious liberty. Bogren is nominated for a lifetime appointment. We believe that his suspect judicial philosophy as it relates to America’s First Freedom renders him unqualified for this position. We urge that his nomination be withdrawn.”

Stand with Senator Hawley and Christians across America, who already know the consequences of appointing judges to the bench with an obvious bias toward religious expression.

Contact your senators and urge them to vote NO on Michael Bogren.

Originally Published Here

This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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