Fortune 500 companies, A-list movie stars, filmmakers and corporate heavyweights came out swinging on April 14, condemning Georgia’s new voting restrictions in an open letter that was printed in The Washington Post and the New York Times.
The hundreds of signatories included the likes of Netflix, Amazon, ViacomCBS, Starbucks, Facebook and UTA, as well as celebrities such as Rooney Mara, George Clooney, Mark Ruffalo, Larry David, Josh Gad, Lee Daniels, George Lucas, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Leonardo Dicaprio, Demi Lovato, Shonda Rhimes, Samuel L. Jackson, Orlando Bloom and Naomi Campbell. Business titans such as Michael Bloomberg, Scooter Braun, J.J. Abrams, David Geffen and Warren Buffett also signed the note.
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“For American democracy to work for any of us, we must ensure the right to vote for all of us,” the statement reads. “Voting is the lifeblood of our democracy, and we call upon all Americans to take a nonpartisan stand for this basic and most fundamental right of all Americans.”
The open letter was organized by former American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault and Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier, and emerged out of a meeting that the men hosted with other business leaders over the weekend.
The new laws were passed in the wake of former President Donald Trump’s unfounded claims of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election, and after Georgia voted for a Democrat for president for the first time in decades. The rules shorten the duration of absentee voting, require absentee voters to produce identification, limit the use of drop boxes and make it a crime to hand out free food or water to voters standing in line. Critics maintain these laws target people of color and are designed to suppress the vote.
Two Georgia-based companies that have criticized the laws, Delta and Coca-Cola, did not sign the open letter.
Georgia has become a major production hub for Hollywood, with film and television project flocking to the Peach State, lured by generous tax incentives. On Monday, one of those projects, “Emancipation,” a thriller about an escaped slave that will star Will Smith and will be directed by Antoine Fuqua, announced it will not shoot in Georgia because of the new voting rules.
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