Despite calls for Hollywood to boycott Georgia over the state’s restrictive new voting law, Black Panther II director Ryan Coogler says the film will remain in the state.
In an op-ed published Friday by entertainment website Shadow and Act, Coogler condemned the new law, but said the Marvel movie will move forward with its plans to begin shooting in the Peach State this summer.
“As an African-American, and as a citizen, I oppose all attempts, explicit and otherwise, to shrink the electorate and reduce access to the ballot,” Coogler wrote. “I say this as I return to Georgia.”
Related Story: Will Smith ‘Emancipation’ Movie Halts Production in Georgia
He added that crew members and vendors would lose work they’ve been counting on, if the film changes locations.
“Having now spoken with voting rights activists in the state, I have come to understand that many of the people employed by my film, including all the local vendors and businesses we engage, are the very same people who will bear the brunt of SB202,” he continued. “For those reasons, I will not be engaging in a boycott of Georgia. What I will be doing is using my voice to emphasize the effects of SB202, its shameful roots in Jim Crow, and doing all I can to support organizations fighting voter suppression here in the state.”
As previously reported, Will Smith and director Antoine Fuqua announced earlier this week that they pulled their upcoming slave drama Emancipation from production in Georgia because of the new law.
“We cannot in good conscience provide economic support to a government that enacts regressive voting laws that are designed to restrict voter access,” the two said in a joint statement. “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.”
A short time later, city officials in New Orleans said the $100 million dollar film will shoot there instead.
“We can confirm right now that Will Smith, the actor and his film Emancipation are moving from Georgia to Louisiana,” New Orleans city spokesperson Beau Tidwell said at news conference on Tuesday, April 13.
Critics of the Georgia voting restrictions — which were passed by the Republican-led legislature and signed by the state’s Republican governor — say they target Black populations.
The measures restrict passing out food or water while voters are waiting in line to enter polling locations. They also limits early voting, absentee ballots, restricts ballot drop boxes and imposes new voter ID requirements.