Will Smith Won’t Shoot New Movie In Georgia To Protest State’s ‘Regressive’ Voting Restrictions
Will Smith and director Antoine Fuqua have moved production of their upcoming film Emancipation out of Georgia in light of its ‘regressive’ voting restrictions.
Donald Trump may have left the White House, but his campaign’s tirade against electoral laws and processes is still bubbling across the US, illustrated by the Election Integrity Act that was recently signed into law Republican Governor Brian Kemp.
Smith and Fuqua, the director behind Training Day and The Equalizer, were set to film Emancipation in Georgia. However, they’ve since departed in protest.
As reported by Variety, the filmmaking pair said in a joint statement, ‘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.’
They added, ‘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, which is based on the true story of an escaped slave named Peter who fled from Louisiana, was set to start filming on June 12. It’s being produced by Fuqua Films, Smith’s West brook Inc., and Apple Studios.
The new law makes way for a host of voting restrictions, such as putting limits on absentee voting and shortening the periods for run-off elections, and prohibits food and water being made available to voters waiting to cast their ballots. It’s been widely and intensely criticised all over the world.
Tyler Perry said, ‘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 added, ‘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. 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.’
Condemnation of the laws have been echoed elsewhere in Hollywood, with Logan and upcoming Indiana Jones 5 director James Mangold tweeting, ‘I will not direct a film in Georgia.’ Star Wars legend Mark Hamill backed the call. However, it’s unclear if other directors and actors will follow suit in the boycott.
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