AceShowbiz - Will Smith and Antoine Fuqua are making an actual move to show their stance on the restrictive voting laws of Georgia. They are withdrawing the production of their upcoming movie "Emancipation" from the state due to the new law.
Smith and Fuqua, who are both producing the slavery drama, announced the decision on Monday, April 12. "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 said in a joint statement. Slamming the government for imposing the new law, they stated, "We cannot in good conscience provide economic support to a government that enacts regressive voting laws that are designed to restrict voter access."
Smith and Fuqua went on stressing, "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."
The movie was initially scheduled to begin filming in Georgia on June 21. It's currently unknown where the film's production will move and if it will cause a delay on the start date. The drama becomes the first major production to leave the state because of the new law.
In addition to producing via his media company Westbrook Inc, Smith is starring in "Emancipation" as Peter, a fugitive from slavery who is fleeing Louisiana in the hopes of traveling north to freedom. Fuqua, meanwhile, is also directing from a script by William N. Collage. The project has been sold to Apple Studios in a deal reportedly valued at $120 million.
The new rules that were passed by the state legislature shorten the duration of absentee voting, require absentee voters to produce identification, limit the use of drop boxes and make it a crime to hand out free food or water to voters standing in line. Critics have maintained that the regulations amount to voter suppression, aimed at reducing the turnout of people of color.
In the wake of the new voting restrictions, filmmakers like James Mangold and actors such as Mark Hamill have vowed to boycott film and television production in Georgia. Meanwhile, Georgia-based corporations such as Delta and Coca-Cola have condemned the law and Major League Baseball opted to move the All-Star Game out of Atlanta.