Stacey Abrams did not lobby against major Atlanta events
CLAIM: Stacey Abrams lobbied for moving Major League Baseball’s 2021 All-Star Game and Atlanta’s 2022 Music Midtown festival out of Georgia.
ASSESSMENT: False. Abrams, the Democratic candidate in Georgia’s gubernatorial race, did not advocate for either the All-Star Game or Music Midtown to be moved out of the state. In fact, she has publicly discouraged boycotts of Georgia, and expressed disappointment when the game was moved and the concert was canceled.
THE FACTS: As Georgia’s gubernatorial race heats up in its final month, false claims have re-emerged on social media that Abrams advocated for moving two major events out of Georgia, in response to voting and gun legislation backed by Republicans.
The claims are being made in an image of text that states: “Never forget. Stacey Abrams lobbied to move the Allstars game and Music Midtown. She cost Georgia 150 million plus. Not Kemp.” One Facebook post featuring the image was shared more than 4,200 times as of Monday.
Abrams, who is running against Republican incumbent Brian Kemp, has fought against the legislation in question. However, a review of Abrams’ public comments shows she did not lobby for moving either of these events out of Georgia, and in fact spoke out against both moves.
MLB pulled its 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta in April last year over the league’s objections to changes to Georgia’s voting laws, which included new restrictions on voting by mail and greater legislative control over how elections are run, The Associated Press reported. The game was instead played in Denver.
Prior to MLB’s decision, Abrams urged against boycotts of Georgia in a video on Twitter. “To our friends across the country, please do not boycott us,” she said.
In a statement posted to her Twitter account the same day MLB made its announcement about the All-Star Game, Abrams wrote: “Like many Georgians, I am disappointed that the MLB is relocating the All-Star game; however, I commend the players, owners and League commissioner for speaking out. I urge others in positions of leadership to do so as well. As I have stated, I respect boycotts, although I don’t want to see Georgia families hurt by lost events and jobs.”
Asked in a subsequent AP interview whether she supports corporate boycotts such as the All-Star Game move, Abrams responded: “I grew up in the Deep South. Boycotts are the reason that I have the ability to make this argument as a free citizen. I understand the impulse of boycotting, but I also understand that boycotts operate differently depending on your targets and depending on your timeline. I do not believe that a boycott at this moment is beneficial to the victims of these bills.”
In August 2022, Music Midtown announced that “due to circumstances beyond our control, Music Midtown will no longer be taking place this year.” Neither the festival nor its owner, Live Nation, gave a specific reason for the cancellation.
However, the AP reported that some believed the decision was the result of a 2019 Georgia Supreme Court ruling that outlined limits on the ability of private companies to ban guns on public property. This decision, in turn, stemmed from a 2014 state law that expanded the locations where guns were allowed. The location of the canceled festival was Piedmont Park, which is run as a public-private partnership.
Abrams lamented Music Midtown’s cancellation in a statement on her campaign website.
“In dire economic times for so many Georgians, this cancellation will cost Georgia’s economy a proven $50 million,” she said, citing an article in the Atlanta Business Chronicle. “This means that small businesses and workers who rely on events like Music Midtown and their tremendous economic impact have now lost incomes that help put food on the table and a roof over their heads.”
Alex Floyd, a spokesperson for Abrams’ campaign, confirmed to the AP that she did not lobby for the outcome of either event.
“Stacey Abrams has never supported the All-Star Game boycott or the cancellation of Music Midtown, and in fact has spent her career trying to bring more business and opportunities to Georgia,” Floyd said in an email.
This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.