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Major Film Says No to Georgia

David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

The first major film has pulled out of Georgia in response to the state’s restrictive new voting law.

The film, Emancipation, stars Will Smith and is directed by Antoine Fuqua. In a statement, the two said that the controversial law is “reminiscent of voting impediments that were passed at the end of Reconstruction.”

According to Variety, the film is based on a true story of an enslaved person called “Whipped Peter,” whose scarred back was photographed and printed in Harper’s Weekly in 1863.

Film industry trade publication Deadline Hollywood says that Emancipation’s pulling out is likely an isolated event, driven in large part by the film’s subject matter and the “optics” of shooting in Georgia. Deadline also notes that political leaders like Stacey Abrams and media executives like Tyler Perry have urged filmmakers not to boycott the state because of the voting law.

Martin Matheny was promoted to Program Director and Content Strategist on July 1, 2022. He has served as the Executive Producer of our local news program 'Athens News Matters', and he covers local government for WUGA News. He started at WUGA in 2012 as a part-time classical music host and still hosts WUGA's longest-running local program 'Night Music' which is heard on Tuesdays and Wednesdays on WUGA at 10pm. 'Night Music' can also be heard statewide on the GPB Classical stream Mondays and Tuesdays at 8pm. As part of 'Athens News Matters' Martin works with student interns to help cultivate the next generation of Public Media rock stars! In his spare time Martin is an amateur book binder and freelance musician who frequently performs with Big Band Athens playing bass trombone. He lives in Normaltown with his wife, Shaye and dog, Murphy.
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