Sci-fi legend, actor and LGBT activist George Takei took a swipe at the slate of anti-gay “religious freedom” measures facing Georgia lawmakers, calling them Jim Crow laws and hinting at a travel boycott if the bills become law.
GA may pass anti-LGBT laws in name of religious freedom. We beat this in Indiana; RT if you’ll join a boycott again. #NoJimCrow
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) February 2, 2016
With nearly 9.5 million Facebook fans and 1.8 million Twitter followers, Takei has a commanding social media presence built since the “Star Trek” actor came out as gay in 2005 and turned into an LGBT and human rights activist.
His initial Facebook post condemning the anti-gay bills in Georgia has received nearly 25,500 likes, nearly 1,000 comments and has been shared more than 2,600 times. A similar post an hour later has been shared 850 times.
Takei's threat of a boycott is exactly what worries Georgia lawmakers hoping to broker some sort of compromise between religious conservatives reacting to gay marriage being legalized across the U.S. and LGBT activists concerned the prposals would open the door to anti-gay discrimination. Businesses and trade groups have spoken out against the measures and studies have shown that the state could face an economic backlash if the “religious freedom” legislation passes.
Takei's social media posts came as activists on both sides of the “religious freedom” measure clashed at the State Capitol on Tuesday.
Takei – whose current project is the Broadway musical “Allegiance” based on his family's imprisonment in internment camps in World War II – is unapologetic about his LGBT activism through social media. Via the Advocate:
How did your social media presence begin?
I had a website and a blog aimed at my Star Trek sci-fi geeks and nerds. But when we started developing Allegiance, we knew that a good part of America was not aware of the internment camp period, and the second challenge was to let people know we were developing a musical about it.
Since Lorenzo is an Internet genius, we launched my Facebook and Twitter presence — and fortunately I have that visionary sci-fi background as well. I now have 9.4 million Facebook fans and 2 million Twitter followers. It’s helped on many levels, not just to build an audience for Allegiance. I’ve been a social and political activist since my 20s, speaking across the world about the internment camps — and more recently about LGBT rights.
I couldn’t do eight shows a week plus all my promotional activities and manage all the social media myself. We started with a couple of interns, and now Team Takei includes eight people.
Also Tuesday, gay former NBA player Jason Collins also spoke out against the anti-gay legislation.
— Jason Collins (@jasoncollins98) February 2, 2016
Collins played for the Atlanta Hawks for portions of three seasons from 2009 to 2012 and enjoyed his jogs through the gayborhood before coming out publicly as gay. He did that in 2013 and became the first openly gay male athlete in the U.S. professional sports.
Photo courtesy Gage Skidmore