In just a matter of five years, basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has gone from being a somewhat sensible liberal to now full-blown leftist by calling on people to boycott states like Alabama and Georgia for protecting the lives of unborn children.
In another op-ed for The Hollywood Reporter, the former NBA star argues that new laws in states like Alabama and Georgia are a throwback to times where “pretty much everyone who wasn’t a straight, white Christian male was considered a second-class citizen whose rights and future depended on the patriarchs’ whims and largesse.”
Of course, that farcical statement neglects the fact that more black babies are aborted in New York City than are elected to be born,or the fact that Planned Parenthood was founded by a racist eugenicist. Somehow, in Abdul Jabbar’s worldview, the people trying to encourage the birth of more black babies are the racist ones.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar goes on to blame the anti-abortion laws in those states on the Trump administration, which he says has returned entitled whites to “their rapidly eroding privileged status.”
“Right now the stains include Georgia, Alabama, Missouri and other states passing restrictive abortion legislation that reduces women to baby incubators,” writes the former NBA star. “The time has come for Americans to defend the principles of the Constitution … For now, one of the best ways to do that is through boycotting the offending states.”
Abdul-Jabbar proposes an extreme measure that even some Democrats in states like Georgia have argued against. For instance, failed gubernatorial candidate Stacy Abrams said that people protesting the heartbeat bill in Georgia should do so by other means, not boycotts.
“While I understand the calls for a boycott in Georgia, I’m going to follow a different path,” Abrams told the Los Angeles Times. “I think the superior opportunity for Georgia, in the specific, is to actually use the entertainment industry’s energy to support and fund the work that we need to do on the ground because Georgia is on the cusp of being able to transform our political system.”
Abdul-Jabbar argues, however, that while boycotts will punish both the innocent and the guilty, it will be enough to create everlasting change. He even compares the boycotts to civil rights activists like Rosa Parks, who sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott in Alabama by refusing to give her seat up to a white person on the bus.
Some filmmakers who have chosen to continue to do business in Georgia are donating money to the ACLU to fight the legislation. While that’s a generous sentiment, it isn’t nearly enough. Here’s why: Unless a powerful message goes out right now, more states will pass these restrictive laws, as we have seen happen already. With women’s rights removed amid little meaningful opposition, LGBTQ rights will follow (as they already have in some states), and so on through every marginalized group.
A boycott is a clear statement that we value conscience over commerce. It means stop doing business with or in these states. For Hollywood, stop making films there. For businesses, stop buying their products or holding conventions or building there. For the average person, don’t visit. No tourism dollars. And we continue this practice until legislators reverse the policies or are removed from office. When the Writers Guild of America, of which I am a member, is willing to boycott talent agencies over packaging practices, certainly they would endorse boycotting states that demean many of their members.
Despite the NBA star’s impassioned rhetoric on the issue, most of Hollywood has actually not joined in on the boycott of Georgia, knowing fully well that they would have to scrap a fair chunk of their business due to the state’s generous tax incentives. Not even Tyler Perry, who operates a major studio in Alabama, weighed in on the controversy.