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Will Smith abandons Georgia film plans on ‘regressive’ election law

Georgia’s new voting restrictions don’t suit Will Smith.

“Men in Black” actor and director Antoine Fuqua announced Monday that they had abandoned their plans to shoot their new film, “Emancipation”, in Peach State because of controversial legislation.

“Right now, the Nation is coming to terms with its history and trying to eliminate the vestiges of institutional racism to achieve true racial justice,” Smith and Fuqua said in a joint statement. “We cannot in good conscience give economic support to a government that enacts regressive voting laws designed to restrict voter access.”

“The new voting laws in Georgia are a reminder of the voting barriers that were passed at the end of the reconstruction to prevent many Americans from voting,” they continued. “Unfortunately, we feel pressured to move our film production work from Georgia to another state.”

Due to the start of filming in June, “Emancipation” is the first major Hollywood production to withdraw from Georgia since Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed the restrictions into law on March 25. Deadline reports that Fuqua, Smith, and the rest of the creative team envision Louisiana, where much of the movie takes place.

Kemp has faced fierce criticism since the measures were approved, including limiting the use of drop boxes for mail-in ballots and banning voting groups from providing food and water to those who line up to vote. Many have denounced the legislation as “Jim Crow 2.0” and argued that it would have a disproportionate impact on black voters.

Fuqua and Smith’s announcement comes just over a week after Major League Baseball cited election law in its decision to move the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to Denver.

Written by William N. Collage, “Emancipation” will star Smith as Peter, a slave who emancipated himself from a southern plantation and joined the Union Army during the Civil War.

“You can’t fix the past, but you can remind people of the past and I think we have to, in a precise and real way,” Fuqua told Deadline of the film, which is based on a true story. . “We all have to look for a better future for all of us, for everyone. One of the most important reasons to do things now is to show our story. We have to face our truth before we can move forward. “

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