Will Smith and Antoine Fuqua are moving the production of their big-budget Emancipation out of Georgia in response to the state’s controversial voting restrictions.
This comes after economic fallout greeted Governor Brian Kemp‘s decision to pass new laws that many say were designed to suppress the vote among people of color. The rules require absentee voters to provide ID, limit drop boxes and make it illegal to hand out food or water to voters in line. The law came after President Donald Trump issued unfounded claims of voter fraud in Georgia when residents voted for a Democrat for president for the first time in decades.
“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,” Fuqua and Smith said in a joint statement. “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.”
Emancipation stars Smith as Peter, a fugitive from slavery headed toward freedom. Fuqua is directing. The film sold to Apple in a reported $120 million deal; filming was set to commence June 21st.
ViacomCBS, AT&T, Delta and Coca-Cola have also condemned the law and Major League Baseball is moving its All-Star Game out of Atlanta. James Mangold and Mark Hamill are also boycotting productions in the state.