Last year, Apple won a bidding war for Will Smith and Antoine Fuqua's new movie, Emancipation. The deal was supposedly around $130 million, and there was a palpable buzz around the film.

It tells the story of a slave named "Whipped Peter" who escapes his plantation in 1863 and then joins the Union to fight the Confederacy in the Civil War. Photos taken of Peter during his Army medical examination first appeared in the July 4 issue of Harper’s Weekly. One image shows Peter’s bare back, mutilated by whipping. It became a famous image known as the "Scourged Back." 

“It was the first viral image of the brutality of slavery that the world saw,” Fuqua told Deadline. “Which is interesting, when you put it into perspective with today and social media and what the world is seeing, again. 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. We all have to look for a brighter future for us all, for everyone. That’s one of the most important reasons to do things right now, is show our history. We have to face our truth before we can move forward.”

With the new restrictive voter laws in Georgia, Hollywood has been discussing what to do next. There was talk of a boycott, and that seems to be slowly happening now. 

Fuqua and Smith released a joint statement today, saying they will move the film location. It was slated to start shooting in June. No word on whether or not this decision will delay that, but probably not. 

The filmmakers said, “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. 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.”

You can read their whole statement here

Let us know what you think in the comments.