Early Thursday afternoon, posters advertising movies filmed in North Carolina and hanging inside the front lobby of the state’s Department of Administration were replaced by a photo of Governor Pat McCrory, touting his increases in statewide teacher pay.
The McCrory poster, flanked by vistas of North Carolina parks, hangs within clear view of the entrance to the Office of the Governor. Posters for a half-dozen films produced in part in North Carolina, including The Hunger Games, had previously occupied those spots.
A security guard confirmed that the film posters had been swapped for the new image this afternoon but could not give a reason for the change. The governor’s office initially said it would have a comment on the decision within thirty minutes but has since stopped responding to repeated phone calls and emails about the change.
The poster reads “Teacher pay to $50K.” In a recent campaign advertisement, the governor touts similar data, saying, “I became governor and gave teachers the largest pay raise in the country.”
The governor and the legislature have been widely criticized for their handling of North Carolina’s film industry. The governor refused to call a special session of the General Assembly in 2014, thereby allowing the state’s film incentives to expire. In recent months, remaining studios and networks have said they will not film in North Carolina until HB 2, which the governor and the legislature continue to defend, is repealed.
The governor’s claims about teacher pay have also been widely contested. Though average teacher pay is expected to cross the $50,000 threshold, this includes substantial county supplements. And, as a recent report by WUNC shows, McCrory’s claim that teacher pay in North Carolina during his tenure has grown more quickly than that of any other state is inaccurate. The budget he signed in August 2013 led to a drop in teacher pay.