Actor Will Smith and director Antoine Fuqua plan to move production of their upcoming film about slavery out of Georgia to protest the state’s new voter law.
The film — a thriller about a runaway slave that’s titled “Emancipation” — is the first big-budget movie project to pull out of the state on the basis of the new law, Variety reported.
“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,” Fuqua and Smith 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,” the statement added.
“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,” it continued.
The movie was scheduled to start filming on June 21, and feature Smith as a runaway slave as he attempts to flee to the north to freedom, according to the report.
The Peach State law, among other provisions, requires ID for absentee voting and forbids people from giving food and water to those in line waiting to cast their ballots — rules critics say will suppress the vote, especially among minorities.
The decision to pull the project from the Peach State comes as Major League Baseball announced it would move this year’s All-Star Game out of Atlanta amid harsh criticism of the law, including by President Biden.
Biden said on ESPN that he would support the league’s decision to move the game from Atlanta — and compared the voting law to Jim Crow policies that restricted the voting rights of black people.