Oprah Winfrey hit the campaign trail on Thursday, but not for herself, as many had hoped. Instead she was stumping in Georgia for Stacey Abrams, the state’s democratic candidate for governor.
Vice President Pence was in Georgia, too — campaigning for Abrams’s Republican opponent Brian Kemp. At a joint appearance, Pence objected to the bevy of celebrities backing Abrams, including Winfrey and actors such as Will Ferrell, Mark Ruffalo and Michael B. Jordan.
“I’d like to remind Stacey and Oprah and Will Ferrell, I’m kind of a big deal, too,” Pence said, mocking Ferrell’s 2004 film, “Anchorman.” He also posed “a message for all of Stacey Abrams’s liberal Hollywood friends: This ain’t Hollywood. This is Georgia.”
Well, as it turns out, Georgia is like Hollywood. In fact, more domestic films are produced in Georgia than anywhere else in the United States.
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (R), as well as other Republicans in the state, have frequently touted the ways in which the film, television and entertainment industry have drawn revenue to the state, fortifying its economy.
In August, Deal’s office noted that the record number of film and television productions shot in Georgia garnered a whopping $9.5 billion in economic impact for the state in fiscal year 2018.
“With a record 455 productions shot in Georgia, the film industry continues to support jobs for Georgians, boost small businesses and expand offerings for tourists,” Deal said in a news release. “Today, Georgia is one of the world’s top destinations for film production and communities across the state are seeing the benefits of welcoming the industry."
Georgia became the most popular site for on-location filming in 2008 after the Georgia Entertainment Industry Investment Act became law, according to the release. The state lost its status as the No. 1 filming location in the world earlier this year. According to Film L.A., the title now belongs to Canada.
High-budget films shot in Georgia last year included “Baby Driver,” “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” and “Baywatch,” among others.
“Georgia wants a governor that’s going to put Georgia values and Georgia first,” Pence added Thursday. “And Brian Kemp is going to do just that.”
Pence is right: Georgia ain’t Hollywood. But there’s no denying that those same celebrities he denounced play an integral role in the state’s economy.
Pence’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment Friday morning.
Kemp vs. Abrams is one the most closely watched gubernatorial races in the country. A recent NBC News-Marist College poll shows the two are virtually tied.