News and Commentary

Hypocrites: Netflix Films In Middle Eastern Countries As It Threatens Georgia Over Abortion Law

Though Netflix threatens to boycott the state of Georgia for passing a fetal heartbeat law to protect unborn children from abortion, the company still films in countries like Jordan and Egypt, where abortion is illegal.

Earlier this week, Netflix helped start a chain reaction of major studios threatening to boycott Georgia if lawmakers did not overturn the fetal heartbeat law.

“We have many women working on productions in Georgia, whose rights, along with millions of others, will be severely restricted by this law,” Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos told Variety. “It’s why we will work with the ACLU and others to fight it in court. Given the legislation has not yet been implemented, we’ll continue to film there, while also supporting partners and artists who choose not to. Should it ever come into effect, we’d rethink our entire investment in Georgia.”

Netflix was later joined by Disney, NBCUniversal, CBS, Showtime, and WarnerMedia with similar calls to boycott Georgia throughout the week. But, as noted by LifeNews, Netflix is clearly willing to work in heavily abortion-restrictive countries.

According to Variety, on the very same week that Netflix threatened Georgia, the company began working on its third Arabic original, titled “Paranormal,” which will, of course, be produced in Egypt. From the report:

Netflix is stepping up production in the Middle East with its third and most ambitious Arabic original, titled “Paranormal,” with young Egyptian director Amr Salama (“Sheikh Jackson”) on board as director and showrunner.

“Paranormal,” based on bestselling Arabic horror books by late Egyptian author Ahmed Khaled Tawfik, is being jointly produced by Salama and prominent Egyptian indie producer Mohammed Hefzy, whose Film Clinic shingle is known internationally for churning out a stream of edgy titles such as “Microphone,” “Sheikh Jackson” and “Yomeddine.”

The series, set in the 1960s, marks the streaming giant’s first foray into a drama produced in Egypt, which is historically the Arab world’s production powerhouse. “Paranormal” depicts the adventures of lead character Dr. Refaat Ismail, a hematologist who finds himself “faced with a series of supernatural events.”

As many as three Netflix original series are shot in the Middle East, two of which are produced in Jordan – “Jinn” and “Al Rawabi School for Girls.”

So how restrictive are the abortion laws in both Jordan and Egypt? According to the Washington Free Beacon, Jordan restricts abortion in nearly all cases except in cases when the life or mental health of the mother is at risk. People in violation of those laws face imprisonment. The country Jordan also provided locations for parts of Disney’s “Aladdin,” another studio threatening Georgia.

Over in Egypt, the Pew Research Center reports that the country has maintained a ban on abortion in nearly all circumstances since 1937.

“The Egyptian Penal Code of 1937 bans abortion in all circumstances, but criminal law allows flexibility on grounds of ‘necessity,'” the report says. “Physicians rely on that principle to justify performing an abortion when they believe the mother’s life or health is in danger or in cases of fetal abnormality. A committee of physicians must agree that the abortion is acceptable within the confines of the law.”

Related: Sophie Turner Vows To Never Work In Anti-Abortion States, Gets Asked About Where ‘Game Of Thrones’ Was Filmed