Georgia Just Lost First Movie Over Voting Law

Will Smith pulls 'Emancipation'
By Liz MacGahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 12, 2021 4:43 PM CDT
Will Smith Just Yanked His Movie Out of Georgia
Will Smith, left, and director Antoine Fuqua pulled production of their drama "Emancipation” from Georgia over the state’s recently enacted law restricting voting access.   (AP Photo)

Will Smith and director Antoine Fuqua are pulling their movie Emancipation out of Georgia over the state’s new voting law. The slave drama is the first major movie to leave the state and forego its rich tax incentives over the law, per the Hollywood Reporter. The pair, both producers, say they can't support a state that restricts 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," reads their statement. "Regrettably, we feel compelled to move our film production work from Georgia to another state." Deadline reports that it will likely end up in Louisiana, where many of the events on which the movie is based took place.

Emancipation is based on the life story of Peter, a slave who freed himself and fought in the Union army. A photograph of Peter’s back, horribly scarred from whipping, was published in 1863, shocking the nation. "It was the first viral image of the brutality of slavery that the world saw," Fuqua previously told Deadline. He and Smith join critics of Georgia’s law, which includes limits to mail-in voting and criminalizes distributing food and water to voters waiting in line, who say it will make voting more difficult for people of color, per CNBC. While Georgia political leader Stacey Abrams agrees, she has been urging Hollywood not to boycott the state, notes Deadline. (The MLB All-Star Game has moved from Atlanta to Denver, and Delta and Coca-Cola, both major employers in Georgia, have denounced the law. Other companies may follow suit.)

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