Long after North Carolina and dozens of businesses and organizations resolved a conflict over a policy to allow so-called “transgenders” (regardless of their genitalia) to use the public/business restroom of their choosing, Netflix is trying to stir up trouble again.
According to Jonas Pate, the creator of a series called “OBX” who Netflix has contracted with for an initial ten episodes, the company doesn’t want his show filmed or produced in the Tar Heel State, because a law that overrode the original “transgender bathroom” law of a couple years ago wasn’t good enough.
Pate, who lives in Wilmington, NC after 25 years in Hollywood, had his hometown in mind for location shooting. “OBX” is shorthand for “Outer Banks,” the barrier islands that stretch nearly the entire coast of North Carolina.
Pate says Netflix asked him to explore sites in South Carolina, including coastal Charleston, for potential filming – but that’s not where his heart is for his show.
“This show would be a postcard to North Carolina,” he told the Wilmington Star-News.
Netflix, led by liberal Democrat megadonor CEO Reed Hastings, is the first significant corporation that wants to snub North Carolina after state lawmakers thought they’d (at least temporarily) reached a satisfactory agreement with the business world about the bathroom law.
In 2016 the state was subject to boycotts because of its requirement, based in its previous “House Bill 2” (HB2) law, for individuals to only use public and business restrooms according to the gender designated on their birth certificates. The statute was enacted in response to an ordinance by the City of Charlotte, which allowed use of facilities according to a person’s “sexual identity” and forced private businesses (not just government buildings) to adopt the policy as well. HB2 was passed with the intention of protecting the privacy and safety when men, women and children enter restrooms and locker rooms.
“Charlotte’s ridiculous ordinance…would have forced private businesses, churches, schools and public buildings to open their women’s bathrooms and locker rooms to any man claiming to be a woman, even if that person has male anatomy,” said Tami Fitzgerald, executive director of the Institute for Faith and Family, at the time.
LGBT advocacy groups led by the Human Rights Campaign waged a corporate campaign, pressuring companies to avoid doing business in North Carolina until the law was changed, that amounted to an economic war on the state. Dozens of corporations, led by many of the far-left technology companies based in Silicon Valley, gladly joined the fray.
Company CEOs signed a message to then-Gov. Pat McCrory – on letterhead with the logos of the Human Rights Campaign and Equality North Carolina, another gay rights group – lecturing the state about its legislation. Among the signatories were top executives at American Airlines, Apple, Bank of America, Citibank, Google, Intel, Hilton, Marriott, Microsoft, Pfizer, and Starbucks. Many other widely recognized, publicly traded companies were represented as well.
“Our future as Americans should be focused on inclusion and prosperity, and not discrimination and division,” said Apple in a statement at the time. “We were disappointed to see Governor McCrory sign this legislation.”
Sports leagues such as the NBA and NCAA also said they would avoid the state because of HB2.
Fast-forwarding a year to March 2017, the North Carolina General Assembly passed HB142, which has inaccurately been characterized as a “repeal,” to replace HB2. But rather than nullification, the new law – which was signed by McCrory’s successor Roy Cooper (a Democrat) – punted on the issue by only preventing local governments from enacting ordinances similar to Charlotte’s until December 2020. LGBT rights groups contend that, as a result, HB142 continued the “discrimination” against them and their rights to use whatever restroom they want.
Nevertheless the replacement law didsatisfy most state legislaters, and more importantly the big businesses that pressured them to change the law. Sports leagues returned their tournaments to the state and there has largely been no debate or discussion about the issue since, except for continuing litigation by the LGBT advocacy groups against HB142.
Except now Netflix has returned the controversy to the fore with its threat to withhold production activities in the state. Pate said the boycott could be averted if lawmakers moved the sunset date of the ban on local non-(transgender)discrimination ordinances to now, instead of December 2020.
“We have a tiny window where this could be pulled out of the fire,” he told the Star-News. “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.”