Will Smith Pulling Movie Production Out Of Georgia Over Election Integrity Law

(Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Varun Hukeri General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
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Will Smith is moving production of his latest film “Emancipation” out of Georgia in protest of “newly enacted voting restrictions,” referring to the state’s election integrity law that Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed in late March.

“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,” the Hollywood star and film director Antoine Fuqua said Monday in a joint statement through Smith’s production studio Westbrook.

“We cannot in good conscience provide economic support to a government that enacts regressive voting laws that are designed to restrict voter access,” the pair added. “The new Georgia voting laws are reminiscent of voting impediments that were passed at the end of Reconstruction to prevent many Americans from voting.”

“Emancipation” was scheduled to begin filming June 21 and stars Smith as a fugitive slave named Peter, who escapes Louisiana in the hopes of traveling north to freedom. Westbrook and Fuqua Films sold the movie to Apple Studios in a deal reportedly valued at around $120 million, according to NBC News.

The announcement comes as Georgia is facing scrutiny from Democrats and major corporations over the election integrity law. Critics have compared the law to Jim Crow and claimed its expansion of voter ID requirements amounts to voter suppression. (RELATED: Georgia’s New Voting Law — Myths And Facts)

Major corporations are at the center of a public pressure campaign against the election integrity law, as Georgia-based companies including Delta and Coca-Cola have condemned the law. Major League Baseball announced it was moving its All-Star Game this year from Atlanta to Denver.

Corporate executives representing more than 100 companies also spoke over the weekend about how they could combat the measure passed in Georgia and similar laws across the country.

Westbrook has not commented on where production will move. Smith and Fuqua said in Monday’s joint statement they were “compelled to move [their] film production work from Georgia to another state.”

Their decision could pressure others in Hollywood to pull out of Georgia, as filmmakers like James Mangold and actors like Mark Hamill have already pledged to boycott production in the state, according to NBC News. Media companies including ViacomCBS and AT&T have also been critical of the election integrity law.