Rapper/actor/producer Will Smith and director Antoine Fuqua announced this week that they are moving production of their forthcoming film Emancipation out of the state of Georgia.
Citing Georgia's controversial voting law, which passed last month, Smith and Fuqua's production companies issued a joint statement regarding their decision.
"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 statement. "We cannot in good conscience provide economic support to a government that enacts regressive voting laws that are designed to restrict voter access.
"Regrettably, we feel compelled to move our film production work from Georgia to another state."
The movie was scheduled to start shooting in Georgia on June 21. According to Deadline, talks are underway to shoot the film in the Louisiana, where much of the story takes place.
The production exit comes on the heels of fallout from the voting law, which places restrictions on absentee voting, while at the same time expanding early voting opportunities. It expands early voting access for some Georgia voters, adds an ID requirement for absentee voting, codifies the use of drop boxes with strict rules on how they can be used and sets new rules for state and local election officials. Critics feel the restrictions are designed to marginalize Black and brown voters, who were widely credited with shifting the state to a Democratic majority during the 2020 elections.
*HEADER CREDIT: Will Smith attends the Centerpiece Gala Premiere of Columbia Pictures' "Concussion" during AFI FEST 2015 presented by Audi at TCL Chinese Theatre on November 10, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for AFI)