Will Smith & Antoine Fuqua Pull Slave Film ‘Emancipation’ From Georgia Due To State’s New Voter Restriction Law
As previously reported, Governor Brian Kemp signed a controversial law that puts heavier restrictions on Georgia voters. The new legislation limits the number of ballot drop boxes and makes it illegal to provide voters in line with food and water.
While many called for the film industry to boycott the state, Will Smith and Antoine Fuqua are the first big names to do so.
Will Smith and Antoine Fuqua released a joint statement Monday (April 12th):
“At this moment in time, the Nation is coming to terms with its history and is attempting to eliminate vestiges of institutional racism to achieve true racial justice. We cannot in good conscience provide economic support to a government that enacts regressive voting laws that are designed to restrict voter access. The new Georgia voting laws are reminiscent of voting impediments that were passed at the end of Reconstruction to prevent many Americans from voting. Regrettably, we feel compelled to move our film production work from Georgia to another state.”
Antoine Fuqua is directing the movie and his Fuqua Films company is slated to produce. Will Smith will star and produce under his Westbrook, Inc. William N. Collage wrote the film.
It tells the story of Whipped Peterson (Will Smith), who was a slave before he emancipated himself and joined the Union Army. He was soon recognized in multiple photographs that revealed the scars he suffered from being whipped when he was a slave. The pictures were published in a well-known magazine, Harper’s Weekly, including one called “The Scourged Back.” That photo showed several severe whip injuries on his back from plantation owners, John and Bridget Lyons.
Apple Studios greenlighted the movie last July.
Tyler Perry, who opened Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta in 2019 previously urged Hollywood not to boycott Georgia as he condemned the new law.
He told The Hollywood Reporter,
“As a Georgia resident and business owner I’ve been here a few times with the anti-abortion bill and the LGBTQ discrimination bill. They all sent a shockwave through Georgia and the nation but none of them managed to succeed.”
He said he wants the Department of Justice to look into the law.
“I’m resting my hope in the DOJ taking a hard look at this unconstitutional voter suppression law that harkens to the Jim Crow era.”
He shared his thoughts on some calling for people to boycott the state and added,
“As some consider boycotting, please remember that we did turn Georgia blue and there is a gubernatorial race on the horizon — that’s the beauty of a democracy.”
What are your thoughts on Will Smith and Antoine Fuqua pulling their film from Georgia? Comment and let us know.