Will Smith movie ‘Emancipation’ pulls out of Georgia over new voting law

A movie starring Will Smith is pulling out of Georgia, citing the Georgia voting law that Gov. Brian Kemp recently signed.

Deadline.com broke the news.

The Apple TV+ film is called “Emancipation” is a thriller about a runaway slave.

Smith and director Antoine Fuqua released a statement to Deadline: “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.”

The subject matter of the film may have made the optics of shooting in Georgia especially problematic.

Smith is set to play Peter, a slave who flees a plantation in Louisiana and makes the trip up North to join the Union Army. It’s based on a true story where a photo of the slave’s whipped back showed up in the press in 1863, becoming visual proof of the barbaric nature of slavery in America when photography was in its infancy.

The voting law shortens deadlines to request absentee ballots, limits drop boxes to return them, adds identification requirements, reduces early voting days before runoffs and bans giving food and drinks to voters waiting in line.

Currently, demand for movie and TV studios in North America is sky high. Georgia, which has some of the most generous tax credits for film production companies in the world, is as busy as it has ever been with about 60 active productions listed on the Georgia film office site.

After a restrictive abortion bill passed in Georgia in 2019, Georgia lost a handful of productions but a widespread boycott never took hold, in part because a district judge struck it down as unconstitutional.