The Georgia boycott threats took on a whole new reality this week with the announcement that the Will Smith runaway slave thriller, “Emancipation,” will no longer be filming in the Peach State.
“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,” Will Smith and director Antoine Fuqua said in a joint statement to Deadline. “We cannot in good conscience provide economic support to a government that enacts regressive voting laws that are designed to restrict voter access. 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.”
Deadline reported that the shoot will likely resume in the state of Louisiana, which is where the actual events in the movie center on, and will cost the production $15 million due to the loss in tax breaks.
The movie will center on the life of the famed slave, Peter, who fled the south after being whipped within an inch of his life and whose injuries later became a famous photograph, known as “The Scourged Back.”
“It was the first viral image of the brutality of slavery that the world saw,” Fuqua told Deadline last year. “Which is interesting, when you put it into perspective with today and social media and what the world is seeing, again. You can’t fix the past, but you can remind people of the past and I think we have to, in an accurate, real way. We all have to look for a brighter future for us all, for everyone. That’s one of the most important reasons to do things right now, is show our history. We have to face our truth before we can move forward.”
Last week, the Director’s Guild of America (DGA) sent a letter to Republican Gov. Brian Kemp condemning the law as an act of “voter suppression.”
“On behalf of the more than 18,000 members of the Directors Guild of America (DGA), including more than 400 who make their home in Georgia, and hundreds more who choose Georgia as the location for their film and television projects, we write to condemn the voter suppression law Senate Bill 202, which threatens to undermine the pillar of our democracy – the right to vote. President Biden has referred to the law both as an ‘atrocity’ and as a modern-day version of Jim Crow,” the letter read.
Movie mogul Tyler Perry has also called upon the DOJ to investigate Georgia’s voter integrity law, likening it to Jim Crow.
Despite the Left’s insistence that Georgia’s new election integrity laws discriminate against minorities, the evidence says otherwise. In fact, many black voters support some of the proposed laws, such as the voter ID requirement.
“Nearly 70% of black people living in America support laws that require prospective voters to provide an ID, such as a driver’s license, before being allowed to cast their ballot,” reported The Daily Wire. “It turns out that the vast majority of black people in America — the very individuals Joe Biden assures us are victims of racism under voter ID laws — think it’s perfectly reasonable to require some form of proof that you are who you say you are before voting.”
FULL STATEMENT FROM ANTOINE FUQUA AND WILL SMITH:
Director/producer Antoine Fuqua and his Fuqua Films and actor/producer Will Smith and his media company Westbrook Inc. have decided to move production of their upcoming film EMANCIPATION from the State of Georgia due to the newly enacted voting restrictions passed by the state legislature and signed by the Governor.
Fuqua and Smith stated: “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. We cannot in good conscience provide economic support to a government that enacts regressive voting laws that are designed to restrict voter access. 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.”
Fuqua directed Denzel Washington to the leading actor Academy Award for Training Day and he earned a Emmy in 2020 for his film Muhammad Ali: What’s My Name. His recent film projects include directing The Equalizer, Equalizer 2, and as an Executive Producer of the television series The Resident.
Emancipation was scheduled to begin filming on June 21, 2021. It will star Smith in the lead role. Fuqua will direct.
The film, based on a script by William N. Collage, will star Smith as Peter, a fugitive from slavery on a harrowing journey north from Louisiana. The character “Whipped Peter,” was an enslaved person who emancipated himself from a Southern plantation and joined the Union Army. In 1863, photos taken of Peter during an Army medical examination first appeared in the July 4 issue of Harper’s Weekly. Known as “The Scourged Back,” one image shows Peter’s bare back, mutilated by a whipping delivered on the plantation of enslavers John and Bridget Lyons.