The Walking Dead star Tom Payne says cabler AMC has a “tough decision” to make should Georgia, the zombie drama’s longtime base of operations, put its abortion ban into effect.
“I think any major decision will wait until that law is or is not passed, but I think at the end of the day, everyone’s looking after their employees,” the former Jesus actor told TooFab when approached about the anti-abortion bill, which outlaws abortion after detection of a fetal heartbeat.
“If you employ someone, you have to look after their rights and what they can do with their lives and I think that’s what these companies are doing at the end of the day. It’s about the workplace they’re in.”
The ban was signed by Georgia governor Brian Kemp in May and will go into effect January 1, 2020 unless the law is challenged. The situation is makes it “tough” for Payne’s former co-stars.
“I feel bad for all the people that I have worked with in Atlanta and in Georgia who might be affected by these laws and obviously I’m friends with all of them and that’’ really tough,” he said.
“Walking Dead, and AMC, they own the studio there. It’s a tough decision for them, because it’s where they are and that’s where they have to be.”
Asked about the right move to make, Payne answered, “I think the right thing is to look after people and women and women’s rights with their own bodies and I think it’s tough if you put people in a position where their health is at risk because they can’t get access to medical procedures that you need.”
The network in 2017 purchased Riverwood Studios Atlanta, the Senoia, Georgia studio where The Walking Dead has been filmed since 2011, for $8.25 million.
On Thursday, AMC Networks said in a statement it would “reevaluate our activity in Georgia” if “this highly restrictive legislation goes into effect.”
“Similar bills — some even more restrictive — have passed in multiple states and have been challenged,” the statement read. “This is likely to be a long and complicated fight and we are watching it all very closely.”
In 2017, Scott Tigchelaar, former president of Riverwood Studios aka Raleigh Studios Atlanta, told the AJC AMC’s purchase of the studio was “a good sign that AMC is committed to Georgia and will be here a long time.”
The Walking Dead is now filming Season 10 for a fall premiere.