Will Smith’s ‘Emancipation’ ditches Georgia over voting law

Will Smith's slavery drama Emancipation will no longer be filmed in Georgia after the southern US state approved a voting rights law that critics say is intended to depress turnout in Black and other underrepresented communities.

Will Smith’s ‘Emancipation’ ditches Georgia over voting law
‘Emancipation’ will star US actor Will Smith as a fugitive from slavery on a harrowing journey north from Louisiana seeking freedom.
Georgia has become a major US movie industry production hub in recent years, but the Emancipation move follows mounting public criticism and boycotts from corporations, sports, and entertainment bodies over last month's controversial measure in the state.

"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 director Antoine Fuqua said in a statement to AFP.

"Regrettably, we feel compelled to move our film production work from Georgia to another state."

The measure signed into law by Georgia's Republican governor imposes voter identification requirements, limits the number of voting drop boxes, and forbids volunteers from giving water bottles to voters who can be forced to wait in line for hours.

Critics have likened it to Jim Crow-era restrictions used to repress the political power of African Americans.

"The new Georgia voting laws are reminiscent of voting impediments that were passed at the end of Reconstruction to prevent many Americans from voting," wrote Smith and Fuqua, who is best known for 2001's Oscar-winning Training Day.

In Hollywood, the response had been more muted prior to Monday's announcement.

Ford v Ferrari director James Mangold, who will helm the next Indiana Jones film, has spoken out against the voting restrictions, tweeting: "I don't want to play there. I'm not telling anyone else what to do."

Star Wars actor Mark Hamill tweeted his support for Mangold and used the hashtag #NoMoreFilmingInGeorgia.

But many major Hollywood productions are filmed in the Peach State thanks to its tax breaks, lower costs, and weather—including Marvel superhero movies, the Walking Dead TV series, and multiple projects such as the recent Coming 2 America shot at the sprawling Tyler Perry Studios. 

Topics: Will Smith , Emancipation , voting rights law , Antoine Fuqua , Ford v Ferrari
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