Georgia’s recently-enacted restrictions on voting, both for local and national elections, have drawn severe ire from both individuals and companies. These new, highly-stringent laws, among other restrictions, reduce the duration of absentee voting, require absentee voters to provide identification, heavily restricts ballot drop boxes and, somewhat confusingly, makes it a crime to hand out food and water to those waiting on line to vote. These laws were enacted on the heels of former President Donald Trump’s repeatedly debunked claims of voter fraud during the 2020 election.
Multiple big brands, from Major League Baseball to Coca-Cola, have condemned the rules, with MLB in particular pulling the All-Star game out of Atlanta in protest. Multiple major media companies have followed suit, both of their own volitions and on the urgings of actors, many of which have said they will not partake in any production filming in Georgia. The latest entertainment venture to pull out of Georgia is the filming for director Antoine Fuqua and Will Smith’s latest film Emancipation. The film follows the true story of a fugitive slave, played by Smith, fleeing from Louisiana. Filming was originally supposed to begin in June, but with the passing of Georgia’s voter laws, Fuqua has decided to take his business elsewhere.
Antoine Fuqua and Will Smith will move production on their big-budget, runaway slave thriller “Emancipation” out of Georgia in protest over the state’s controversial new voting restrictions. https://t.co/n85hl0lXXf
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) April 12, 2021
“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 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.”