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Will Smith moving production of new film out of Georgia over election law

Will Smith says he’s moving production of his latest thriller — in which he stars as a runaway slave — out of Georgia over the passage of a Republican-backed election law in the state.

“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,” Smith and director Antoine Fuqua said in a joint statement through his media company on Monday.

“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 said.

“The new Georgia voting laws are reminiscent of voting impediments that were passed at the end of Reconstruction to prevent many Americans from voting,” Fuqua and “Bad Boys for Life” star Smith said.

In “Emancipation,” based on a real-life story, Smith stars as a runaway slave on a “harrowing journey north from Louisiana.” The movie for Apple TV+ was poised to be produced in the Peach State, with filming beginning in June, before Smith and Fuqua pulled the plug on those plans.

Democrats and voting rights advocates have argued that the legislation, which was passed along party lines and signed by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) last month, amounts to voter suppression.

The voting law includes more identification requirements for absentee voters, limits drop boxes and seeks to bar anyone other than poll workers from giving food or water to Georgians waiting in line to cast their ballots.

“Regrettably, we feel compelled to move our film production work from Georgia to another state,” Smith and Fuqua said.

Last month, director James Mangold vowed not to direct a film in Georgia after Kemp signed the law.

Major League Baseball announced last week that it was moving its annual All-Star Game from Atlanta to Denver in protest of the new law.

Former Democratic Georgia gubernatorial candidate and voting rights activist Stacey Abrams had advised against boycotts in her home state.

“As I have stated, I respect boycotts, although I don’t want to see Georgia families hurt by lost events and jobs,” Abrams said.

Tags Antoine Fuqua Apple TV+ Brian Kemp Emancipation Georgia Georgia election law Will Smith

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