LOS ANGELES (CBS Los Angeles) – On Monday, actor Will Smith and director Antoine Fuqua announced that their film “Emancipation” would no longer be shot in Georgia due to the new electoral law passed by Governor Brian Kemp in late March.
“At this moment the nation is grappling with its history and trying to remove traces of institutional racism in order to achieve real racial justice,” said Smith and Fuqua in a joint statement on Monday.
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“We cannot in good conscience provide economic support to a government that passes regressive electoral laws designed to restrict electoral access,” they said. “The new electoral laws in Georgia are reminiscent of electoral barriers that were passed at the end of the reconstruction to prevent many Americans from voting. Unfortunately, we feel compelled to move our film production work from Georgia to another state. “
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This is the first time a film has ceased production in Georgia in direct protest against the new bill. “Emancipation” is a film about an enslaved man named Whipped Peter, who was emancipated during the civil war and joined the Union Army. Since 2008, Georgia has been a popular location for movie television shows and movies due to the tax incentives the state offers.
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The new electoral law for Georgia contains a number of measures that activists say make it difficult for Georgians to vote. Among other things, the law makes it illegal to provide food and water to voters waiting in line outside a polling station, and requires ID to be able to vote by post. There is still no word on where to move the shooting of the film.