‘Ozark’ star Jason Bateman says he won’t work in Georgia if ‘heartbeat bill’ survives court challenges

Actor Jason Bateman, star of the Netflix show "Ozark," said he will no longer work in Georgia if the controversial abortion legislation recently signed by Gov. Brian Kemp survives court challenges.

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"If the 'heartbeat bill' makes it through the court system, I will not work in Georgia, or any other state, that is so disgracefully at odds with women's rights," Bateman told The Hollywood Reporter. The actor's Netflix show "Ozark" and HBO show "The Outsider" are currently filming in Georgia. He also filmed "The Change-Up" here in 2011.

Bateman is one of the latest celebrity to speak out against House Bill 481, which outlaws most abortions once a doctor can detect a fetus' "heartbeat" — usually about six weeks into a pregnancy and before many women know they're pregnant.

In late March, more than 40 Hollywood celebrities signed a letter sent to Georgia House Speaker David Ralston and Gov. Brian Kemp saying they will push TV and film production companies to abandon Georgia if the "heartbeat" abortion bill is signed into law, AJC columnist Rodney Ho reported. Among those who signed the letter were Alec Baldwin, Amy Schumer, Gabrielle Union, Rosie O'Donnell, Patton Oswalt, Sarah Silverman, Essence Atkins, Uzo Aduba, Christina Applegate, Ben Stiller, Sean Penn, Atlanta native David Cross, Don Cheadle, Mia Farrow, Colin Hanks, Bradley Whitford and Amber Tamblyn.

Actress Alyssa Milano, who was very vocal during Georgia’s governor’s race, once again took to Twitter to protest the legislation.

“There are over 20 productions shooting in GA” she wrote, “& the state just voted to strip women of their bodily autonomy. Hollywood! We should stop feeding GA economy.”

Milano is currently in Atlanta filming season two of the Netflix’s dark pageant comedy “Insatiable.”

Kemp recently postponed an annual trip to Los Angeles to promote Georgia's film industry as a growing number of movie executives and celebrities criticized his decision to sign the anti-abortion "heartbeat" bill into law. Abortion rights activists had threatened to protest the May 22 event, and Georgia film executives were worried that tepid turnout and no-shows from studio chiefs could do lasting damage to the state's movie-making business.

It was another banner year for Georgia's film and TV entertainment business in 2018, Ho reported, courtesy of the state's generous tax credits. The state had 455 qualified TV and film productions in fiscal year 2018, which covered July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2018.

The governor's office said there was $2.7 billion in direct spending in the state from these productions, which ranged from "The Walking Dead" and "Ozark" to "Tag" and "Mile 22." That is about the same amount as the previous year, when some big-budget extravaganzas such as "Black Panther" and "Avengers: Infinity War" were in production.

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