Smith Fuqua 1618201152 928xSource: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic; Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for Heart of Los Angeles

What you need to know

  • Will Smith and Antoine Fuqua have pulled production of Emancipation from the state of Georgia.
  • The move came in response to a new voting law that passed in the state.
  • The law has drawn criticism as being too restrictive.

The upcoming Apple TV+ film Emancipation will no longer be filming in Georgia.

As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, director Antoine Fuqua and Will Smith are withdrawing the production of the film from Georgia in response to new voting laws that have been criticized as too restrictive.

Passed by a Republican legislature and signed into law by a Republican governor, the new voting law has been heavily criticized by observers as being overly restrictive — it curtails the use of dropboxes, enacts strict new ID requirements for absentee ballots, makes giving water and food to those waiting in line a crime — and targeting the state's Black populations. Politicians and civil rights activists have called the law a harkening back to the era of Jim Crow, a time when many Southern states created laws that kept institutional racism intact even after the Civil War.

In a joint statement, Smith and Fuqua said they "cannot in good conscience provide economic support to a government that enacts regressive voting laws."

"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 Smith and Fuqua 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."

Production was set to begin on June 21. It is currently unknown what state the film will move production to or when it will now begin.

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