Will Smith's slavery film Emancipation cancels production in Georgia over voting law

Nick Allen
·2-min read
Smith stars in the film about a runaway slave during the US Civil War - AP
Smith stars in the film about a runaway slave during the US Civil War - AP

Will Smith has pulled production of his film Emancipation out of Georgia in protest at the state's new law restricting access to voting.

The film, about a runaway slave, was the largest and most high-profile Hollywood production to leave the state so far.

It came after Georgia's Republican-controlled state legislature passed a law introducing stiffer voter identification requirements for absentee ballots, and limiting the number of voting drop boxes.

The law also gave the State Election Board new powers to remove local election officials, and barred the provision of food and water to people waiting in line to vote.

Opponents have said the law is designed to reduce the number of black voters casting ballots. Joe Biden has called it “outrageous” and “un-American”.

Read more: What is the new Georgia voting law and why is it controversial?

Workers remove an All-Star sign from Truist Park in Atlanta after Major League Baseball moved the showpiece game - AP
Workers remove an All-Star sign from Truist Park in Atlanta after Major League Baseball moved the showpiece game - AP

In a joint statement Smith, and the film's director Antoine Fuqua, said their decision was a matter of conscience.

They said: “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.

“We cannot in good conscience provide economic support to a government that enacts regressive voting laws that are designed to restrict voter access.”

The production was due to begin filming in June and is being financed by Apple Studios. It is based on a true story and stars Smith as a slave who flees a Southern plantation and joins the Union Army.

Georgia is a popular state for Hollywood film production, including ones made by Marvel Studios and Netflix, because it offers generous tax incentives.

Major League Baseball has already moved its All-Star Game out of Georgia.

Coca-Cola and the Delta airline, both of which are based in Atlanta, Georgia, have also condemned the new voting law.

In response, Donald Trump has called for a boycott of Coca-Cola and Delta.