190608 Spike Lee
Spike Lee Image Credit: AP

Director Spike Lee is the latest filmmaker to vocalise his opposition to Georgia’s new abortion law, saying it’s time for productions there to “shut it down.”

The Oscar-winning filmmaker coupled his remark with a call to boycott the southern state’s booming film and television industry to drive change. That industry, which has dubbed Georgia the Hollywood of the South, contributes an estimated $9.5 billion (Dh34.8 billion) annually to the state’s economy.

The ‘BlacKkKlansman’ director shared his thoughts during the star-studded arrivals on Thursday for Denzel Washington’s AFI Lifetime Achievement tribute in Hollywood.

Lee acknowledged that the departure of productions could threaten the livelihoods of local workers and compared their plight to that of black bus drivers affected by the boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, during the civil rights movement.

The outspoken veteran filmmaker is among the many Hollywood celebrities to protest Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s May decision to ban abortions upon detection of fetal cardiac activity — as early as six weeks and before most women even know they’re pregnant.

Though studios’ responses to the law were initially muted, criticism and opposition have grown, compelling heavyweights including Walt Disney Co Chairman and Chief Executive Bob Iger and Netflix chief Ted Sarandos to say they would potentially rethink their massive investments in the state if the law were enforced.

Generous tax incentives have helped make the state a top filming location in the United States. It has hosted movies and TV shows that include ‘The Walking Dead,’ ‘Ozark’ and ‘Avengers’ films and has created 92,000 jobs in the state since 2010, according to the Motion Picture Assn of America.