Netflix has pulled production of a new series that was scheduled to be filmed in North Carolina because portions of the state’s anti-LGBTQ House Bill 2 remain on the books, the Wilmington Star News reports.
The hateful law, which was passed in 2016, barred transgender people from using the restroom that coincided with their gender identity and restricted municipalities’ ability to enact anti-discrimination laws to protect LGBTQ people. HB2 was partially repealed the following year and replaced with HB 142, but LGBTQ organizations denounced the new law as “shameful” because it kept HB2’s ban on city governments from passing LGBTQ-inclusive protections until the end of 2020.
The coming-of-age series “OBX,” created by Wilmington resident Jonas Pate, hasn’t been officially announced, but the streaming giant has already ordered ten episodes of the show and shooting was expected to begin in the spring. The series follows a summer of change for four teenagers in a fictional Outer Banks town after a hurricane knocks out all outside communication.
Pate told the Wilmington Star News that if state lawmakers repeal the anti-LGBTQ provision from the books, Netflix might agree to let him shoot the series in the state.
“We have a tiny window where this could be pulled out of the fire,” he said. “If I get any sense that there is any effort to move the sunset date up, I think I could convince Netflix to change course.”
“This tiny law is costing this town 70 good, clean, pension-paying jobs and also sending a message to those people who can bring these jobs and more that North Carolina still doesn’t get it,” he said, adding that the production was set to spend $60 million in the state where it films.
Pate is now scouting filming locations in South Carolina.
“This show would be a postcard to North Carolina,” he added.
Incoming North Carolina Sen. Harper Peterson (D) said he’d like to see the matter addressed at the start of the General Assembly’s session this week.
“That is a decision the legislature has to make and realize that it is one more opportunity we are losing if we don’t,” Peterson told the Star News. “We have to get back and be competitive with other states. It just hurts to see a production about North Carolina go to South Carolina.”