Apple film project ‘Emancipation’ starring Will Smith exits Georgia over election integrity law

Will Smith and director Antoine Fuqua will no longer shoot the movie “Emancipation” in Georgia, citing the Election Integrity Act of 2021, originally known as Georgia Senate Bill 202, a newly-passed law intended to shore up election integrity in the state.

Kelly Gilblom for Bloomberg:

The Apple Inc. production, in which Smith stars as a real-life fugitive from slavery who became famous for a photograph of his whip-scarred back, was set to start filming in Georgia on June 21, according to a joint statement Monday. The director and actor called the voting law “regressive” and said it’s “designed to restrict voter access.”

“Emancipation” is the first major project to publicly break from the state, a popular filming destination because of its tax incentives and studio space… “The new Georgia voting laws are reminiscent of voting impediments that were passed at the end of Reconstruction to prevent many Americans from voting,” Fuqua’s Fuqua Films and Smith’s Westbrook Inc. said in the statement.

Georgia’s new voting law requires voters to provide a state-issued identification card when requesting an absentee ballot and limits drop boxes, among other restrictions.

Apple film project ‘Emancipation’ starring Will Smith exits Georgia over election integrity law. Image: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
MacDailyNews Take: The real issue that some factions have with Georgia’s new election integrity law is that it prohibits “donations” from outfits like the Center for Tech and Civic Life, which Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg funded to the tune of $400 million last election cycle.

If other U.S. states follow suit, an effective, although expensive (thereby conveniently reserved for only a privileged few multi-billionaires), method to target specific areas in order to affect wider election outcomes will be eliminated. Hence the faux outrage, foot stamping, and hissy fits pitched by Hollywood movie producers and the like. (Granted, many of the outraged, especially Hollywood types, have never read Georgia’s law or know of the Center for Tech and Civic Life. They’ve just hopped aboard the outrage train because that’s what they do. Make a splash, get the write-ups, cash the checks.)

Basic, common-sense laws that protect the integrity of the absentee, advance, and mailed ballots that do not disenfranchise any voter should welcomed by those who desire fair elections that are as free as possible from influence by a handful of mega-rich individuals.

This isn’t ‘Shark Tank’ This is your democracy. But as the bidding grows higher, your voice gets lower. You’re simply priced out of the marketplace of ideas. That is, unless you are one of the ultra wealthy. — Steve Israel

Anyone who bothers to read Georgia’s Election Integrity Act of 2021 knows that the “outrage” from some quarters is ludicrous.

We need leaders not in love with money but in love with justice. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Again, the real issue that some factions have with this law, and bills like it, is not whether bottles of water can be handed out in line*, it is the prohibition of huge “donations” from a handful of multi-billionaires like Mark Zuckerberg through 501(c)(3) organizations in order to affect election outcomes.

Big corporations and the richest 1% of Americans have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into Washington, purchasing enormous political influence and drowning out the voice of average Americans. — Robert Reich

*Georgia’s Election Integrity Act of 2021 allows poll officers to make available self-service water from an unattended receptacle to any elector waiting in line to vote.

36 Comments

    1. Thank you, MDN, for pointing out that the intent of the law is to violate the constitutional rule against limiting political contributions established in Citizens United v. FEC. I would never argue that the case was correctly decided, but it does currently stand as the supreme law of the land.

      Passing a law that violates the rule is bad enough, but when it is openly being done to put the Government’s thumb on the scale to favor one political party over another, the abuse is blatant. It is particularly egregious when the law is plainly crafted to have a disparate effect on voters who belong to constitutionally protected classes. The “integrity act” would never have passed preclearance under the Voting Rights Act if that were still required.

      It is beside the point to compare the Georgia provisions with New York, Delaware, or any other state that did not deliberately and openly change its election laws to protect incumbents of one political party from an emerging electoral majority that supports the other party. It is the change in policy after an election in which voters of color beat the Establishment that makes this law—and the similar laws in other states—so objectionable.

      1. How is giving money to governments to act how you want them to act against Citizens United!? Nice try, but you’re wrong. This has nothing to do with giving money to political campaigns.

        1. Schmluss, take that up with MDN. They are the ones who claim that the major thrust of the new Georgia law is to limit politically-related contributions by Democratic donors. Sorry, but if Citizens United is constitutionally protected, so is Mark Zuckerberg. The identity of the recipients does not matter.

          Any idiot could see that the 2020 Georgia elections were horribly underfunded in a pattern that favored low-density areas that traditionally vote Republican over high-density Democratic areas. When the Democrats won anyway, the legislative response was not to provide adequate funding to reduce the disparity, but rather to prohibit supplemental funding and make the problem worse. If that was intended to harm minority voting, as it obviously was, it violates the 1965 Voting Rights Act, among other things.

          1. Trump Vindicated as Judge Rules Michigan Secretary of State Violated Election Laws

            A judge in Michigan has vindicated President Trump by ruling that Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, broke state law when she unilaterally changed election rules concerning absentee balloting in the 2020 election.

            The court made the following conclusion:

            …nowhere in this state’s election law has the Legislature indicated that signatures are to be presumed valid, nor did the Legislature require that signatures are to be accepted so long as there are any redeeming qualities in the application or return envelope as compared with the signature on file. Policy determinations like the one at issue — which places the thumb on the scale in favor of a signature’s validity — should be made pursuant to properly promulgated rules under the APA or by the Legislature.

            Over 3.1 million Michiganders voted by absentee ballot in November. Biden “won” the state by just over 154,000 votes, according to the state-certified results.

            1. Unpronounceable Symbol,

              Somebody posted this before. The Court held that the Secretary of State should have complied with the Michigan Administrative Procedure Act by either providing public notice and hearing or invoking an emergency. The SoS did not think that was necessary before offering guidance to county election officials because they did not regard giving advice (as required of them by statute) as a “rulemaking.” The Court disagreed. The decision hinges on the use by the SoS of the term “guidance,” which sounds mandatory, rather than merely “advice.”

              The lawsuit was filed by the Republican Party and by a County elections official who did not appreciate being told to do what he admitted he would have done anyway, which is to give taxpaying voters the benefit of the doubt in very close cases. That is all that the “guidance” amounted to.

              The Court quite specifically refused to say whether the advice would have been improper if notice had been given and a “rule” promulgated under the APA. This is not a smoking gun for a fraudulent election practice. At the end of the day, the plaintiffs won, but the elections results were not affected, given that there was no showing that a single vote in the entire state would have been counted differently if the “rule” had not been improperly issued.

          2. Survey: Democrats Say More Important to Make It ‘Easier’ to Vote than Prioritizing ‘No Cheating’ in Elections

            The survey, taken April 11-12, among 1,000 U.S. likely voters, asked, “Which is more important: Making it easier for everybody to vote, or making sure there is no cheating in elections?”

            Sixty percent of likely voters said it is more important to make sure there is no cheating in elections, compared to 37 percent who said it is more important to make it “easier for everybody to vote.”

            However, 61 percent of Democrats say it is more important to make it easier for “everybody to vote” than “making sure there is no cheating in elections.” Republicans disagree, as 83 percent prioritized targeting cheating, as did 63 percent of voters unaffiliated with either party.

            Fifty-six percent of black voters, whom Democrats frequently claim are victims of “voter suppression” via election integrity laws, also said it is more important to make sure there is no cheating in elections.

            Majorities of all racial groups – 59% of whites, 56% of Blacks and 63% of other minority voters – say it is more important to make sure there is no cheating in elections than to make it easier to vote.

            Likewise, majorities of all racial groups – 64% of whites, 59% of Blacks and 58% of other minority voters – reject the claim that voter ID laws discriminate against some voters.

            Respondents were also asked, “How likely is it that cheating affected the outcome of the 2020 presidential election?”

            Fifty-one percent said it was either “very” or “somewhat” likely.

            The survey’s margin of error is +/- 3 percent.

            1. We used to have a saying in America that it is better to let ten guilty men off than to convict a single innocent one. We also used to believe that it is better to take reasonable, manageable election risks than to disenfranchise a single qualified voter.

              Apparently, we now believe that it is better to make it difficult for tens of millions of Americans to vote than to let one fraudulent vote through. I suppose the next thing will be to authorize the police to execute suspects on mere suspicion of committing a misdemeanor, rather than risking the escape of a guilty man.

      2. Why are you in favor of letting Mark Zuckerberg determine who the president will be? Because, this time, you got away with it? You won’t always win. Republicans arguably have more money with which to buy elections, now that Zuckerberg’s ploy is understood.

        Why do you defend the corrupt establishment so strongly?

          1. Project “Veritas” always uses the same methodology:

            First, approach their political enemies under false pretenses with a fake identity. Take the time to make friends and ingratiate themselves. Take extreme positions in conversation that the spy secretly opposes and the target would never take on their own. Offer every possible inducement to entrap the target into verbally agreeing with those positions just to get along.

            Second, use a hidden camera to record hours of supposedly private conversations without the target’s consent. If the target is in a state where two-party consent is required, find an excuse to move the conversation to a one-party consent state… or just record the conversation anyway. Use lots of hypothetical and leading questions to put words into the target’s mouth. Again, take extreme positions and try to get the target to agree.

            Third, edit the hours of recordings down to a few minutes by eliminating all of the context and every word that might contradict the Project’s claims about the target’s position. Leave only the few words that support the Project’s hypothesis. Edit out the leading questions and leave only the coached answers.

            During editing, do whatever possible to make the target look bad. For example, if a Christian target quotes Psalm 14:1, “The fool says in his heart, there is no God,” delete everything before the comma to paint them as an atheist. If recording in a bar or restaurant, be sure to show the target drinking and edit to make it appear like heavy drinking.

            Fourth, embed the few remaining minutes or seconds of actual recordings into a presentation that mostly consists of studio film, narration, and captions that place the actual recordings into a completely fictitious context in which white appears black.

            They do it every time.

    1. The Center for Tech and Civil Life (CTCL), a voter advocacy group funded by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, donated $7.4 million last year to Detroit to, among other things, “dramatically expand strategic voter education and outreach” in a blue city key to Joe Biden’s 2020 election win, according to memos obtained by Just the News under an open records request.

      Detroit received three grants in 2020 from CTCL for $200,000, $3,512,000, and $3,724,450, according to the records released under Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

      The amount augmented by more than half the city’s $13 million election budget, and dwarfed it the $6.3 million in grants that CTCL gave five Wisconsin cities, a series of donations that has generated accusations that private money was wrongly used to influence state and local election judges and administrators.

      The reach of Zuckerburg’s money has created a backlash in some GOP states like Georgia and Arizona, where lawmakers have moved since November to ban private money from being donated to election administrators.

      CTCL’s donations to local election officials have spurred controversy, especially in the city of Green Bay, Wisc., where newly released documents show a total of $1.6 million in grant funding from CTCL helped empower a “grant mentor” who has worked for several Democratic Party candidates to gain access to boxes of absentee ballots before the election.

      Recently released memos show the city clerk fumed at the arrangement. “I don’t understand how people who don’t have knowledge of the process can tell us how to manage the election,” the clerk wrote in one memo.

      Republican state lawmakers in Wisconsin continue to investigate the arrangement, which some legal experts believe might have run afoul of Wisconsin law.

      “What’s critical to understand is how legally unauthorized all of this is,” Erick Kaardal, an attorney for the Wisconsin Voters Alliance, recently told The Federalist.

      How Mark Zuckerberg’s Election Money Helped An Out-Of-State Democrat Get His Hands On Wisconsin’s 2020 Vote

      When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife handed out hundreds of millions of dollars last year… what the grant money really purchased in battleground states like Wisconsin was the infiltration of the November presidential elections by liberal groups and Democratic activists, according to hundreds of pages of emails and other documents obtained by Wisconsin Spotlight.

      The emails show Green Bay’s highly partisan Democrat Mayor Eric Genrich and his staff usurping city Clerk Kris Teske’s authority and letting the Zuckerberg-funded “grant team” take over — a clear violation of Wisconsin election statutes, say election law experts.

      The liberal groups were also improperly insinuating themselves into the election system and coordinating with what became known as the “Wisconsin 5,” the state’s five largest communities that split more than $6 million in Zuckerberg money. The emails expose the dangers of handing over the administrative keys to private “fair election” groups with a clear political agenda.

      The grants were thanks to the $250 million “gift” from the CEO of the social network giant that has silenced conservative speech. Zuckerberg would drop another $100 million on his “safe elections” agenda before the pivotal November presidential election. It was clear early on that the grant would come with a side of politics.

      One of the key players involved was Michael Spitzer-Rubenstein, state leader for election security for the National Vote at Home Institute. The institute, one of many left-leaning subcontractors in the “election support” network, is tied at the hip to the Center for Tech and Civil Life. CTCL’s founder and executive director is in the “Circle of Advisors” for the National Vote at Home Institute…

      Spitzer-Rubenstein was given the keys to the room where the absentee ballots were stored. A Hyatt Regency checklist instructed staff, “DO NOT UNLOCK GRAND BALLROOM UNTIL Michael Spitzer-Rubenstein IS WITH SECURITY WHEN UNLOCKING THE GRAND BALLROOM DOORS.”

      Former Brown County Clerk Sandy Juno, who retired from the post in early January, said the contract stipulated that Spitzer-Rubenstein would have four of the five keys to the KI Center’s ballroom — “several days before the election.”

      The city of Green Bay literally gave the keys to the election to a Democratic Party operative from New York.

      https://thefederalist.com/2021/03/10/how-mark-zuckerbergs-election-money-helped-an-out-of-state-democrat-get-his-hands-on-wisconsins-2020-vote/

  1. Appreciate MDN comments. Living in GA 2020 was disfranchising. As far as voting, having 17 days including weekends prior to election day to cast ones vote is incredibly enabling. This versus a life of years wherein the only option was election day.

    1. They’ve lost touch with reality like MLB did.
      It’s all virtue signaling.
      But they can tell their grandkids how they fought oppression….by creating it.

        1. You mean by changing rules at the last minute against state law, allowing mass mail-in ballots, not enforcing voting hours, shutting down poll center counting, spreading lies about drop boxes and postal drops?

          Those kind of changes?
          Couldn’t agree more with you…

  2. I never though I’d see the day when protecting voting integrity was deemed racist and un-American.

    These miscreants have spit on the graves of everyone who died in the defence of freedom and democracy. Pitiful, and cowardly!

      1. A person can encourage every American that is legally qualified to vote and also support fairness and intergritiy. You act like there are only two possible options. But we all have come to expect low resolution thoughts and comments from Tx Users. You are 320×240 in an 8k world. But we still love you and glad to let you pretend add useful input.

  3. And I never thought I would see the day where efforts to do a forensic audit received so much obfuscation and blow back by the entrenched politicos and agents of the deep state regarding ensuring the election, thus the votes, were valid and ensuring “integrity”! Really, why would anyone be against that, as it would shut one side up.

    Or, expose the other! Hmmm…

  4. cmon man, everyone knows that having to show an ID is raciest and keeps people from buying alcohol and cigarettes. That would be crazy to ask a black person to show ID to vote. Crazy white KKK.

    I don’t know anyone that doesn’t have a drivers license here. 1500 people here and the parking lot is full every day. Everyone has a license plate also. I cant believe how they figured out how to get to the DMV?? do you? I bet they sure couldn’t find a voting place either. Such dumb asses. I’m in Macon, GA at an amazon warehouse and its 95% black. Nobody here complains about getting an ID and voting. Nobody asks where to vote. They did hire a lot of canvassers to go door to door and fill out the ballot and take it in for them for convenience however. One of a handful of white boys here.

  5. The California state legislature has moved a bill through committee that in the case of recall petitions would allow the the politician to see the names of those who signed the petition. The bill’s author says “it would let politicians ensure voters weren’t duped into signing petitions and allow them to explain how voters can withdraw their signatures.” More likely to intimidate people into changing their mind. This is real voting rights suppression.

  6. the photo ID is the issue. Thousands of immigrants are entering the country everyday. They do not have photo I.D.s so requiring a photo I.D. will “disenfranchise” potential millions of immigrants. Considering how many local/federal elections last cycle that was decided with less than thousands of votes this is important strategy to maintain power. It will most likely be a few more years until that can fully secure one party rule.

    1. They can’t register if they cannot prove they are citizens, and they cannot vote unless they are registered. Proven impersonation fraud has amounted to only a few dozen cases out of billions of votes cast in this century. Requiring an ID at the polls, like restricting mail and early voting, is a solution for a problem that does not exist. It is simply a mechanism for making the process of voting more difficult and slower, so as to discourage Americans from exercising their right and duty to participate in the life of the Republic.

      The effort to disenfranchise qualified citizen electors isn’t even subtle. President Trump said of efforts to facilitate safe voting during the pandemic, “They had things (to promote) levels of voting that, if you ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.” That amounts to an admission that his platform cannot win broad public support, so it is necessary to cheat.

          1. Wow.
            Didn’t know it was possible to put your foot in your mouth AND your head up your ass.

            Might need to see a chiropractor after you wipe that shit off your eyes…

  7. Getting rid of Hollywood scum from your state is the kind of Emancipation I would watch. This potential Will Smith movie, not so much. I don’t care for some lunacy from a self entitled, over-hyped, over paid doofus. Now THAT’S freedom!

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