Now Sharon Stone has joined the chorus, cancelling her plans to shoot her new short film, The Principle, in Mississippi. The movie was due to film there in June, but will now move elsewhere. As the short is about cyber-bullying, it’s a sensible decision to move it.
Stone, who has long been an LGBTI ally and AIDS activist, commented, ‘I will not work in any state that holds or is actively creating laws to legally support discrimination against American citizens whether due to their race, religion, gender or sexual orientation, nor where those laws are passed or approved by the government of said state.’
The laws that have recently been passed have been framed as ensuring religious freedom, protecting privacy and/or avoiding prejudice, but are really thin-veiled attacks on the LGBT community. They have enshrined in State law that businesses can refuse to allow trans people to use the bathroom that correspond to their gender identity and that it is perfectly legal to refuse service to gay people as long as you claim you have a sincerely held belief/prejudice against them. Many of the laws have also attempted to circumvent any local governments extending protections to LGBT people (although after the backlash, North Carolina’s governor backtracked on that part of his state’s law).
It has been a particularly ugly chapter in the US culture wars, with many believing that more than Republican state governments genuinely feeling the laws are needed, they are merely lining up to show their anti-LGBT credentials in an election year. It also unpleasantly mirrors the things many of the same states did in the 1960s after the Federal government extended more rights to African Americans and other ethnic minorities, where they enacted laws in an attempts to prevents desegregation.