*Atlanta-based Tyler Perry has added his voice to Hollywood’s call for Georgia’s Gov. Nathan Deal to reject a bill that discriminates against the LGBT community, according to Deadline.com.
“At Tyler Perry Studios, we believe in inclusion and equality for all people,” a rep for Tyler Perry Studios said Friday.
“We do not tolerate bigotry, division and discrimination,” added the spokesperson. “We have tremendous confidence in Governor Deal’s leadership and ability to continue to lead our great state forward and urge him to veto this bill.”
Perry is expanding his footprint in Georgia with an expansion of his studio into the former site of Atlanta’s Fort McPherson Army Base. Perry’s current production facilities are a 200,000-square-foot complex in southwest Atlanta that includes five soundstages and a 400-seat theater.
Perry’s statement comes just days after he presented the Palm Sunday musical The Passion on Fox, and follows a Disney announcement on March 23 that it would pull its business and productions out of Georgia if Deal signs the religious liberty bill into law.
Netflix, Time Warner, CBS, Fox, Sony Pictures, Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners, NBCUniversal, Discovery, Open Road Films, The Weinstein Company, Lionsgate, MGM and AMC, whose TV series “The Walking Dead” is made in Georgia, are among those who have urged a veto of the bill. As well, a plethora of big names like “Empire” co-creator Lee Daniels, “Hunger Games” EP Nina Jacobson, Greg Berlanti and Aaron Sorkin are among those who signed a letter on March 24 from Human Rights Campaign condemning the legislation in the lucrative tax incentive rich state.
The Free Exercise Protection Act AKA House Bill 757 was passed through the Georgia state Assembly last week. Republican Gov. Deal has until May 3 to sign or veto it. The bill aims in part “to provide that religious officials shall not be required to perform marriage ceremonies in violation of their legal right to free exercise of religion,” and allows faith-based organizations to not hire or provide services to those who “violate such faith-based organization’s sincerely held religious belief.”
Opposition to House Bill 757 isn’t exclusive to Hollywood – the NFL and the Atlanta Hawks organization are against it also.