Will Smith’s production company Westbrook is moving his next film, Emancipation, out of Georgia due to new state voting laws. The production company released a statement on its Instagram, sharing that they were moving production out of state “due to recently enacted voting restrictions by the state.”
“Right now, the nation is embracing its history and trying to remove vestiges of institutional racism to achieve true racial justice,” Smith and the film’s director, Antoine Fuqua, said in a joint statement. in good conscience they financially support a government that enacts regressive voting laws designed to restrict voter access. Georgia’s new voting laws recall the bars to voting that were passed at the end of Reconstruction to prevent many Americans from voting. Unfortunately, we feel compelled to relocate our film production work from Georgia to another state. “
The couple also added this title to their statement, further explaining their decision to move their film to Louisiana.
“We have decided to move production of our upcoming film ‘Emancipation’ to the state of Georgia due to recently enacted voting restrictions approved by the state legislature and signed by the governor. We were scheduled to begin filming on June 21, 2021 with @ antoinefuqua directing and @willsmith playing Peter, a fugitive from slavery on a harrowing journey to northern Louisiana, “the caption read.
The film will feature Smith playing a real-life enslaved man named Peter, who emancipated himself from a southern plantation and joined the Union Army. Her story gained notoriety after photographs of her back, which was marked by whiplash, appeared on Harper’s Weekly.
It’s unclear if other production companies will follow suit, but more recently, Major League Baseball moved its 2021 All-Star Game out of Atlanta in response to recent state voting restrictions. The Players Alliance, which works to increase black participation in baseball, released a statement in support of the MLB, which has since moved the All-Star Game to Denver, Colorado.
“The Players Alliance stands together in support of Major League Baseball’s decision to move the 2021 All-Star Game out of the state of Georgia during this crucial time of racial upheaval and inequality,” the statement read. “We want our voice to be heard loud and clear in our opposition to recent Georgia legislation that not only disproportionately deprives the black community, but also paves the way for other states to pass similarly harmful laws based largely on widespread falsehoods and misinformation. “