Will Smith and director Antoine Fuqua are the newest big names to announce they’ll be taking their business out of Georgia following the passing of the highly controversial Election Integrity Act of 2021, which has drawn the ire of voting rights groups that are accusing lawmakers of voter suppression. What’s notable about Smith and Fuqua’s protest is that Emancipation, their upcoming film for Apple TV about a runaway slave, was scheduled to begin shooting in June. Rearranging a production’s location mere months before it begins will cost the team time and money, but in a joint statement, they make it clear that filming in Georgia is no longer an option. Via Variety:
“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,” Fuqua and Smith said in a joint 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.”
Smith and Fuqua are not alone. Major League Baseball recently pulled the All Star Game out of Atlanta in protest of the voting laws, which has rankled Republicans like Mitch McConnell, who thinks corporations should “stay out of politics.” Except, of course, when it comes to political donations. Mitch has gladly accepted those.