Modern progressives tend to have a pretty bleak view of Corporate America. After all, one-sided trade deals that essentially exported jobs to countries that weren’t so concerned with the conditions of their workers, corporate welfare, and cronyism that has entrenched itself like a stubborn old man on his porch, waving away “the kids” with his wrinkly, angry hands have made it pretty hard not to loathe big business. But there are still corporations — enormous ones, really — that are at the very least run by smart people who can sense a change in direction in the culture and want to be on the right side of history. Disney and its subsidiary Marvel are two such corporations.
Mickey and Iron Man are apparently pretty pissed off about the new anti-LGBT law passed in Georgia. Their parent companies are among several media conglomerates that have threatened to boycott the state unless their governor — a conservative Republican, of course — vetoes it. The bill is one of many like it currently making their way to Republican governors’ desks in a few states. At its core, HB 757 essentially gives carte blanche to people in the state to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or biological gender as long as the discrimination is religiously-based.
The Hollywood Reporter reported on a statement from Disney and marvel earlier this week.
“Disney and Marvel are inclusive companies, and although we have had great experiences filming in Georgia, we will plan to take our business elsewhere should any legislation allowing discriminatory practices be signed into state law,” a Disney spokesman said Wednesday. (source)
This is a warped and perverse idea of what Freedom of Religion means. I wonder if conservatives in this country would back laws that allow Catholics to perform inquisitions? Or, you know, what if say, a bunch of American conservative Muslims got together and decided they wanted to use their religious expression to wage jihad? I know, you’re going to tell me those two examples involve physical assaults and would be criminal regardless of the religious element, but well, HB 757 has language in it that states no clergyman can be forced to perform gay marriages, and that’s already covered in the First Amendment. So what’s stopping someone 30 years from now from trying to use his religion as an excuse to get away with all kinds of horrid shit?
I’m not a “slippery slope” arguer, either. I’m just saying the kind of stupidity on display in Georgia right now is the exact reason why the founders did the First Amendment like they did. HB 757 is the legal permission to discriminate. We used to have a name for laws like that in this country…Jim Crow laws. And so, we can see that the very same states that kept Jim Crow alive are now going after Jim’s LGBT cousin. Disgusting.
Not only is this kind of bullshit disgusting, it’s extremely shortsighted. Marvel films have already been shot in Georgia, but they have already said if Nathan Deal signs this bill they won’t be back. I’m not saying that Georgia’s entire budget depends on the film industry, but I thought Republicans were fiscally shrewd? It seems that throwing away millions of dollars over an ideological crusade would be, well, the opposite of shrewd.
There will of course be conservatives who shrug this off as some sort of evidence of the vicious evilness of the liberal Hollywood elites. But fuck those people. Those people are just bigots trying to justify their bigotry. The reality is that for millions of LGBT people, this is a sign that they aren’t a forgotten minority. This is a gesture to them that shows not everyone is out to stop them from simply living their one precious life as free from tyranny as possible.
What I really love about this is that it sends a message to kids that Black Widow and the Hulk aren’t fans of homophobia. Sure, the characters themselves aren’t doing a PSA against HB 757 or anything, but it still sends a message to them. Kids notice these kinds of these things, and one day twenty years from now there could be an LGBT man or woman who owes their positive outlook about themselves to seeing Disney or Marvel stand up to codified bigotry.
It’s nice to know that while they’re making up stories about heroes trying to help those in need there are people working at Disney and Marvel who are heroically helping those in need.