Boycott Georgia - Don Winslow

Don Winslow, the author of books like The Force and the Cartel trilogy, has optioned the rights to several of his novels to studios and TV networks. But in the wake of this week’s egregious voter suppression in Georgia, Winslow is taking action.

“I will allow no film or television show based on one of my works to be shot in the state of Georgia until its government takes immediate, real and concrete steps to ensure free and fair elections and to end voter suppression,” he writes in a recent op-ed, and he’s calling on the rest of Hollywood to also boycott Georgia until the issue can be addressed in a serious, meaningful way.

If you didn’t hear about what happened at the polls in Georgia on Tuesday, I encourage you to look into it. In short, the state’s primary elections were a total nightmare: malfunctioning voting machines, polling sites not adequately staffed and not opening on time, a failure to deliver absentee ballots through the mail, and – most importantly – massive differences in the wait times between polling stations that served primarily white voters, and those that serve the state’s biggest Black populations. You can hear more details about it on today’s episode of The New York Times’ The Daily podcast, or hear author and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams talk about it here:

In his op-ed for Deadline, Winslow called Tuesday’s events “a disgraceful travesty,” and says the Secretary of State’s deliberate incompetence is endangering democracy as we know it. I encourage you to read his whole piece, but here’s the most relevant section for our film, TV, and pop culture blog:

Over the years I’ve been fortunate enough to sell a number of my books to networks and studios for television and film adaptation. I will unequivocally state now that I will allow no film or television show based on one of my works to be shot in the state of Georgia until its government takes immediate, real and concrete steps to ensure free and fair elections and to end voter suppression.
If that means that the project is scrapped, so be it.
I urge my colleagues to join me in this stance. It might hurt, it might lighten our pockets. But it will also lighten our consciences. We cannot stand on the sidelines and simply comment, as well-intentioned as those comments might be.
I truly hate to take this step. Boycotts are tricky things, double-edged swords that can sometimes injure the very people that they are trying to empower. I have nothing against the people of Georgia. I have always been treated beautifully and enjoyed any time that I’ve spent there.
But something must be done.
The people of Georgia – all the people of Georgia – must be allowed to participate fully in the political life of their state. They must be allowed to vote in free and fair elections. That is their right as Georgians, it is their right as Americans.
And as Americans, we must stand up for the legitimacy of our elections.

At last count, the projects in the works based on Winslow’s books include The Force (starring Matt Damon and directed by James Mangold) and an FX adaptation of the Cartel trilogy. Previously, the industry had its eye on Winslow’s The Winter of Frankie Machine and Satori, but it’s unclear where those projects currently stand.

This isn’t the first time Hollywood has bristled at the restrictive politics of the representatives controlling the state. Last year, a movement to boycott Georgia began growing in Hollywood thanks to Governor Brian Kemp’s signing of a “heartbeat” law that essentially bans abortions after six weeks, with several productions pulling out of the state entirely and major studios threatening to leave as well. The ban has not taken effect yet – a federal judge temporarily blocked the law, which is still caught up in the court system.

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