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Will Smith Pulls Production Of New Film From Georgia Over Voting Restrictions

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Actor Will Smith and director Antoine Fuqua have pulled production of their runaway slave drama “Emancipation” from Georgia over the state’s recently enacted law restricting voting access, The New York Times reports.

“We cannot in good conscience provide economic support to a government that enacts regressive voting laws that are designed to restrict voter access,” Smith and Fuqua 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.”

The film is the largest and most high-profile Hollywood production to depart the state since Georgia’s Republican-controlled state Legislature passed the controversial law that limits voter access and gave the State Election Board new powers to intervene in county election offices and to remove and replace local election officials. Opponents have said the law is designed to reduce the impact of minority voters.

“Emancipation” had been scheduled to begin shooting in June. Apple Studios acquired the film last year in a deal reportedly worth $130 million. Based on a true story, the film stars Smith as a slave who flees a Louisiana plantation and joins the Union Army.

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