Will Smith and director Antoine Fuqua have pulled their runaway slave movie out of Georgia due to controversial voter ID law.
Smith’s new slavery film titled, Emancipation, was scheduled to begin filming on in Atlanta in June, but he is now looking for a new location.
Smith, who is starring in, as well as producing the movie, blamed “institutional racism,” for his decision.
“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.”
The movie, based on a true story, will likely be filmed in Louisiana, where the actual events took place.
In the film, Smith plays a slave who escaped the plantation and joined the Union Army after he was whipped to within an inch of his life.
The historic photo of the ex-slave’s scarred back, taken during an Army medical examination, became known as “The Scourged Back.”
The photo was published by The Independent and Harper’s Weekly in 1863, and served to embody the cruelty of slavery in America.
“It was the first viral image of the brutality of slavery that the world saw, which is interesting, when you put it into perspective with today and social media and what the world is seeing, again,” Fuqua told Deadline last year. “You can’t fix the past, but you can remind people of the past and I think we have to, in an accurate, real way.”
Emancipation is the first film to pull out of Georgia since the new laws went into effect.
Major League Baseball pulled the All-Star game out of Georgia after Gov. Brian Kemp signed the new election bill into law in March.
The new election law requires identification to submit absentee ballots by mail.