Will Smith pulls production of movie from Georgia over voting law
"The new Georgia voting laws are reminiscent of voting impediments that were passed at the end of Reconstruction to prevent many Americans from voting”
Will Smith and director Antoine Fuqua have announced that they have pulled the production of their new film from Georgia in protest against the state's controversial new voting laws.
The movie was scheduled to start filming on 21 June, and will feature Smith as a fugitive from slavery in Louisiana.
In a joint statement, Smith and Fuqua 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 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."
From Fuqua and Smith: pic.twitter.com/z0VITTsQ2G
— Westbrook (@WestbrookInc) April 12, 2021
The laws in question were brought in in March. Amongst other things, the new laws will include identification requirements for absentee voters, guarantee drop boxes for votes but also reduce their number across the state, and ban food and water being provided within 150 feet of a polling place.
The movie, which is for Apple TV, will now be filmed in Louisiana instead. It is no easy decision for Smith and Fuqua, as the production is now set to miss out on $15 million in tax breaks that it would have received in Georgia, according to Deadline.
It is the second major blow for the state of Georgia since it announced the new laws, after Major League Baseball moved its annual All-Star game from Atlanta to Colorado in protest against them. Georgia's governor Brian Kemp has said that this has cost Atlantas $100 million in lost revenue.
Leading Georgian Democrat Stacey Abrams has accused Republicans in the state of passing the new election laws "knowing the economic risks to our state." In a statement, Abrams said Republicans had "prioritized making it harder for people of colour to vote over the economic well-being of all Georgians.”