The shooting of the Will Smith’s slave thriller, Emancipation, just became the latest revenue hit in the fallout over Georgia’s new restrictive voter legislation. Instead, Smith and famed director Antoine Fuqua (The Equalizer, Training Day) have decided to move production of their upcoming film to Louisiana.
“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,” said Fuqua and Smith in a prepared statement. “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.”
Ironically, it was the sensitive subject matter of the film that became the deciding factor, overriding the efforts of those like Stacy Abrams and Tyler Perry to sideline boycott efforts.
In the film, Smith plays a slave who has fled a plantation in Louisiana after being brutally whipped and his perilous journey north. Based on a true story, Smith’s character then joins the Army where during a routine medical examination the scars of his beating are exposed, subsequently photographed and published as indisputable proof of the cruelty and barbarity of slavery. The images—widely distributed—came to be dubbed as “The Scourged Back”.