April 12 (UPI) -- Will Smith and Antoine Fuqua announced Monday they would pull their film Emancipation from filming in Georgia. Smith stars, Fuqua directs and both produce the film.
The Hollywood Reporter and CNBC reported Smith and Fuqua's statement citing the state's recent voting law as reason for moving production. They were to begin filming June 21, according to Hollywood Reporter.
"We cannot in good conscience provide economic support to a government that enacts regressive voting laws that are designed to restrict voter access," the statement read. "The new Georgia voting laws are reminiscent of voting impediments that were passed at the end of Reconstruction to prevent many Americans from voting."
Smith and Fuqua are referring to the law Georgia passed in March requiring proof of identity, outlawing providing food and water to voters waiting in line, and restricting ballot collection boxes. Advocacy groups have challenged the law on the grounds that it aims to restrict Black voters.
Emancipation marks the first production to pull out of the state due to the law. Fuqua and Smith are making the film for Apple Studios.
Smith will star as Whipped Peter, a slave from a Southern plantation who emancipates himself and joins the Union army during the Civil War. Photographs of Whipped Peter's scars appeared in Harper's Weekly magazine.