As a result of Georgia’s new voting law, actors like Will Smith have pulled their productions from the Peach Tree State. The new law, which was passed last month, includes a list of restrictions for Georgia voters such as making it illegal to serve food and water in the voting lines, shortening absentee ballots, and requiring voters to submit a photo ID to vote absentee by mail.
The law is accused of suppressing Georgia voter’s rights, specifically voters of color.
Packing Up & Moving Out
In recent years, Georgia has been a major filming mecca for production companies including Marvel. Smith was set to film his upcoming thriller Emancipation in Georgia. But not anymore! Smith and the film’s director Antoine Fuqua, best known for his Academy-award-winning film Training Day, released a joint statement following their decision:
“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, the movie’s director, 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 in their decision. Notable director James Mangold, the creative mind behind the new Indiana Jones movie, also released a statement via Twitter.
“Georgia has been using cash to steal movie jobs from other states that allow people to vote,” Mangold tweeted. “I don’t want to play there.”
There is no word on if Tyler Perry will continue his productions in Georgia. The billionaire’s studio is located in Atlanta. But he did speak out against the law and called it “unconstitutional” and “harkens to the Jim Crow era.”
Hollywood speaks up
Even Hollywood had to turn their nose up on this one. Stacey Abrams’ Fair Fight organization has called on the industry to “stay and fight.”
Companies like Starbucks, Netflix, Amazon, Apple, ViacomCBS, Live Nation Entertainment, UTA, have signed a petition condemning Georgia’s voting law. An open letter titled was published in The New York Times.
“Voting is the lifeblood of our democracy and we call upon all Americans to join us in taking a nonpartisan stand for this most basic and fundamental right of all Americans,” the letter reads.
George Clooney, Katy Perry, J.J. Abrams, George Lucas, Shonda Rhimes, Samuel L. Jackson, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Leonardo DiCaprio are also among the Hollywood actors who have signed the petition.
This whole situation is very touchy. And it’s not as Black and white as it may seem. However, one thing is very simple. Gov. Brian Kemp‘s new law is definitely violating people’s rights to vote. I encourage all my fellow Georgians to vote next year in the governor election!
Deanna Kenner is an Atlanta native. She is a recent college graduate from Georgia State University receiving a Bachelor of Arts in English. Her favorite is blue as you may tell by her funky hair color and she has a passion for writing and reading.