Will Smith and director pull production of film from Georgia over voting restrictions

Voting Law-Georgia-Will Smith
Posted at 2:22 PM, Apr 12, 2021

NEW YORK (AP) — Will Smith and director Antoine Fuqua have pulled production of their runaway slave drama “Emancipation” from Georgia over the state’s recently enacted law restricting voting access.

The film is the largest and most high-profile Hollywood production to depart the state since Georgia’s Republican-controlled state Legislature passed the legislation.

The new law introduced stiffer voter identification requirements for absentee balloting, limited drop boxes and gave the State Election Board new powers to intervene in county election offices and to remove and replace local election officials.

Opponents have said the law is designed to reduce the impact of minority voters.

In a joint statement obtained by The Associated Press and CNN, Smith and Fuqua said they “cannot in good conscience provide economic support to a government that enacts regressive voting laws that are designed to restrict voter access.”

In their statement, the pair compared new Georgia voting law to the “voting impediments” that were passed at the end of Reconstruction to prevent some people from voting.

Smith and Fuqua said filming will be moved to another state, but they did not specify which one.

The film that’s being moved was scheduled to begin shooting in June. It’s set to star Smith as a slave who flees a Louisiana plantation and joins the Union Army.