Will Smith is moving production for his upcoming film out of Georgia in response to the state's newly enacted voting restrictions.
On Monday, Smith, 52, and director Antoine Fuqua, 55, shared in a joint statement that they are pulling production of their slave drama, Emancipation, out of the state as they do not want to support Georgia's government.
"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," the pair began the statement, first reported by Deadline. "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," they concluded.
The decision is in response to legislation signed by Gov. Brian Kemp earlier this month that restricts voting access in Georgia.
The new law in Georgia places several new restrictions on voting, including limits on drop boxes, who is allowed to vote using provisional ballots, new county election board oversight and stripping some authority from the secretary of state, according to The New York Times. It also criminalizes offering food or water to people waiting in line to vote.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Emancipation is the first major film to leave the state due to the restrictions.
In the film, Smith stars as Peter, a real-life runaway slave who fought to evade his hunters through the Louisiana swamp in his journey to join the Union army.
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Fuqua (Training Day) will direct the film written by William N. Collage. The movie, from Fuqua Films and Smith's company Westbrook Inc., was sold to Apple Studios last July for a deal reportedly valued at $120 million.
Production on the film was scheduled to begin on June 21, 2020. It is unclear where the film will move shooting locations.