The Georgia boycott threats took on a whole new reality this week with the announcement that the Will Smith runaway slave thriller, “Emancipation,” will no longer be filming in the Peach State.
“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,” Will Smith and director Antoine Fuqua said in a joint statement to Deadline. “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.”
The movie will center on the life of the famed slave, Peter, who fled the south after being whipped within an inch of his life and whose injuries later became a famous photograph, known as “The Scourged Back.”
“It was the first viral image of the brutality of slavery that the world saw,” Fuqua told Deadline last year. “Which is interesting, when you put it into perspective with today and social media and what the world is seeing, again. You can’t fix the past, but you can remind people of the past and I think we have to, in an accurate, real way. We all have to look for a brighter future for us all, for everyone. That’s one of the most important reasons to do things right now, is show our history. We have to face our truth before we can move forward.”