ViacomCBS Issues Statement Opposing Georgia Voting Bill

ViacomCBS is publicly expressing its opposition to Georgia’s recently passed voting bill, adding its name to a list of corporations that are speaking out on the new law.

The statement does not call for a boycott, and such a move has drawn concerns from figures such as Stacey Abrams that it could hurt more than help.

The ViacomCBS statement says, “We unequivocally believe in the importance of all Americans having an equal right to vote and oppose the recent Georgia voting rights law or any effort that impedes the ability to exercise this vital constitutional right. Increasing voter access and civic engagement is one of ViacomCBS’ core social impact pillars and we will continue to educate the public on the importance of an open and fair voting system through our programming and extensive partnerships with grassroots organizations that promote and increase participation in elections.”

Delta and Coca Cola, both based in Georgia, are among the companies that have come out publicly against the law, which voting rights advocates say will restrict voting in the state.

The Motion Picture Association has not issued a statement so far on the situation.

But some of the calls for Hollywood studios to boycott the state are being met with warnings of caution, as Georgia is not the only state facing new laws that place greater restrictions on voting.

In an op ed in USA Today on Wednesday, Abrams wrote that she didn’t think it was necessary — yet. She wrote that “one lesson of boycotts is that the pain of deprivation must be shared to be sustainable. Otherwise, those least resilient bear the brunt of these actions; and in the aftermath, they struggle to access the victory. And boycotts are complicated affairs that require a long-term commitment to action. I have no doubt that voters of color, particularly Black voters, are willing to endure the hardships of boycotts.”

She added, “By and large, the events and films that are coming to Georgia will speak out against the laws. And they will hire the targets of SB 202: young people, people of color and minimum wage workers who want to elect leaders to fight for their economic security. I again repeat my admonition from 2019 that leaving us behind won’t save us. So I ask you to bring your business to Georgia and, if you’re already here, stay and fight. Stay and vote.”

The Georgia bill, signed into law by Gov. Brian Kemp last month, has tougher ID rules for absentee ballots, limits the use of drop boxes like those implemented used during the 2020 elections, and gives state election board officials the ability to override local boards. It also makes it a misdemeanor to offer food or water to voters waiting in line. The bill, however, does expand some early voting in primaries and general elections.

Tyler Perry, who owns the massive Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, called the law unconstitutional and said that it “hardens to the Jim Crow era.”

President Joe Biden also has weighed in, calling the law an “atrocity.” In an interview with ESPN, Biden said that he would “strongly support” moving the All Star Game in July out of Atlanta.

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