Will Smith Moves 'Emancipation' Filming Out Of Georgia In Protest Of Voter Laws

by Erica Gerald Mason
Europa Press Entertainment/Europa Press/Getty

The state of Georgia lost a substantial production due to its recently signed into law restrictive voting legislation

Director/producer Antoine Fuqua and actor/producer Will Smith have decided to move the production of their upcoming movie Emancipation from the state. This comes after the MLB said they will move the All-Star game from Georgia following the passage of the new, widely condemned voting laws in the state. Georgia’s Republican lawmakers pushed through the tighter laws after the state voted blue for the first time in a generation.

“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,” CNN reports the duo said in a joint statement. “We cannot in good conscience provide economic support to a government that enacts regressive voting laws that are designed to restrict voter access.”

After the news, Democratic Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms tweeted, “…and the dominos continue to fall…” The mayor was the defendant named in a 2020 lawsuit filed against her and the city of Atlanta. The suit, filed by direct order of Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, due to the signing a mask mandate for her city. (Kemp dropped the suit).

“The new Georgia voting laws are reminiscent of voting impediments that were passed at the end of Reconstruction to prevent many Americans from voting,” Fuqua and Smith went on to say in their statement. “Regrettably, we feel compelled to move our film production work from Georgia to another state.”

The new Georgia voting law was signed by Kemp in March and instantly drew attention around the world as a series of measures designed to cause voter suppression in minority communities.

Some took to Twitter to criticize Smith and Fuqua’s choice to leave the state. Others didn’t see it that way.

“Game? Apparently some people hv the luxury of thinking voter disenfranchisement is a … game,” another person replied. “Anyway, shout-out to Will Smith & Antoine Fuqua for saying, “Nope,” to Georgia GOP’s attempt to deprive Americans of the benefits of citizenship.”

Let’s keep the pressure on, folks.

President Joe Biden criticized it as “Jim Crow in the 21st Century” and there have been demands for corporations to take action against Georgia.

Proponents have claimed the legislation gives Georgia’s elections more security and actually expands access to voting. However, the law is significantly more restrictive than what the GOP claims, restricting the number of ballot boxes and requiring voters to provide id when requesting an absentee ballot. A more troubling aspect of the new laws is that the state will be able to take over local elections and overturn local election results.

After the 2020 election, Georgia was the focus of former President Trump and his fans as having been riddled with voter fraud, which has been demonstrated as a false allegation. At the time’

It’s not the first time the state has encountered requests for boycotts and lost revenue from Hollywood in the face of a controversial law. In 2019 a group of production businesses declared they would no longer shoot in Georgia after Kemp signed the “heartbeat bill” which banned abortions in some circumstances if a fetal heartbeat was present. A federal judge later blocked the ban.

The film Emancipation, featuring Smith and directed by Fuqua, was set to start filming on June 21.