It was announced on Monday that director / producer Antoine Fuqua and his Fuqua Films and actor / producer Will Smith and his media company Westbrook Inc. have decided to move production of their upcoming film “Emancipation” out of the state.
“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,” the couple said in a joint statement on CNN. “We cannot in good conscience provide economic support to a government that passes regressive electoral laws designed to restrict electoral access.”
“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,” added Fuqua and Smith in their statement. “Unfortunately, we feel compelled to move our film production work from Georgia to another state.”
CNN has asked representatives of the Georgian film and television industry for their comments.
The new electoral law for Georgia was signed by Republican Governor Brian Kemp in March and immediately drew the ire of those who called it electoral suppression.
Proponents have argued that the law makes Georgia’s elections safer and, in fact, broadens access to elections.
Georgia was targeted by former President Trump and his supporters as a victim of election fraud in the last presidential election, which has been proven wrong.
It’s not the first time the state has faced calls for boycotts and lost revenue from Hollywood in the face of a controversial law.
In 2019, a group of production companies announced that they would no longer film in Georgia after Kemp signed the “Heartbeat Bill,” which restricted abortions in some cases when they had a fetal heartbeat.
The state has actively courted Hollywood and in 2008 waived a 30% tax credit on productions filmed in Georgia.
“Emancipation” with Smith, directed by Fuqua, was due to begin filming on June 21st.