Tyler Perry blasts Georgia’s ‘unconstitutional’ voter law, says DOJ should step in

Media mogul said he wants Department of Justice to take action against newly signed, ‘unconstitutional’ law

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Tyler Perry, joining other metro Atlanta business leaders including Delta CEO Ed Bastian, has staunchly opposed the new voting legislation that was signed into law by Gov. Brian Kemp last week in a statement given to the Hollywood Reporter.

The metro Atlanta movie studio owner and television producer revealed his grievances to the entertainment publication about the “unconstitutional” law, which requires a state-issued ID to request an absentee ballot and limits the number of drop boxes in the state.

“As a Georgia resident and business owner I’ve been here a few times with the anti-abortion bill and the LGBTQ discrimination bill,” Perry said in a statement. “They all sent a shockwave through Georgia and the nation but none of them managed to succeed.”

Perry echoes sentiments from Bastian, who has criticized the law as “unacceptable,” and President Joe Biden, who has dubbed the new law as “Jim Crow in the 21st Century.” Some in the entertainment business have announced similar boycotts as to those announced when changes to abortion laws and LGBTQ discrimination bills were proposed.

“Ford v Ferrari” director James Mangold tweeted that he would not direct a future film in Georgia due to the new law.

“Georgia has been using cash to steal movie jobs from other states that allow people to vote. I don’t want to play there,” the director wrote in his tweet.

“Star Wars” actor Mark Hamill agreed with Mangold’s call to action, tweeting with the hashtag #NoMoreFilminginGeorgia. Perry suggests taking it a step further than a boycott. The Louisiana native has implored the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the validity.

“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,” he continued. He also weighed in on calls to pull business from the state: “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.”

Kemp, who has been slammed by critics for approving the law on the cusp of campaigning for reelection, had not responded to Perry’s statement as of Wednesday afternoon. He submitted a statement to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in response to Bastian’s criticism, noting that he was blindsided by the CEO’s statement and disappointed that the bill has been misrepresented by opponents.

“Today’s statement by Delta CEO Ed Bastian stands in stark contrast to our conversations with the company, ignores the content of the new law, and unfortunately continues to spread the same false attacks being repeated by partisan activists,” Kemp said.

While some agree with Perry and others in the production industry about the boycott, others see the fallacy in blocking business in the state, especially after economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Bernice King, daughter of the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., suggested the talks about boycotting the state end.

Please stop the #BoycottGeorgia talk,” Bernice King wrote on Twitter. “That would hurt middle class workers and people grappling with poverty. And it would increase the harm of both racism and classism.”

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story said the new law would limit voting hours. On Election Day in Georgia, polling places are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and if you are in line by 7 p.m., you are allowed to cast your ballot. Nothing in the new law changes those rules.

However, the law made some changes to early voting. The bill adds a second mandatory Saturday of early voting for general elections but removes two weeks of early voting before runoffs.