Hollywood, as both a producer of entertainment and an economic bastion, is a force to be reckoned with. Although the film and television industry may be known at face value for its creation of cinema hits, small-screen favorites, and bonafide movie stars, there’s so much more to it than its entertainment value. In fact, Hollywood acts as a major influence on American politics, not only by bringing major issues to the attention of media consumers but also by actually lobbying and petitioning Congress.
Most recently, Hollywood studios threatened to boycott the state of Georgia because of its anti-LGBT bill, HB 757. The bill, known as the Free Exercise Protection Act, would allow faith-based organizations to deny services to individuals who violate their “sincerely held religious beliefs”—leading many to decry the bill as discriminatory towards members of the LGBT community. After a call to action by Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin, many studios including Disney, 21st Century Fox, Sony, CBS, Comcast, Netflix, and more threatened to boycott the state for film and TV production, should the bill be passed—putting the $6 billion the entertainment industry was expected to generate in the state in 2016 to risk. So, Governor Nathan Deal vetoed the highly controversial bill.
This victory, albeit tied primarily to the economic influence of Hollywood, goes to show how much of an impact the film industry has on political decisions, beliefs, and movements. And this isn’t the only instance of Hollywood working to do good. Here are seven other times actors, movies, or Hollywood as a whole has tried (and often succeeded) to influence Capitol Hill, legal proceedings, and public thought.