Mark Hamill throws support behind James Mangold's calls for Georgia film boycott over voting law
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Actor Mark Hamill threw support behind film director James Mangold after Mangold said he will not direct in Georgia following the passage of a Republican-backed elections law that Democrats and voting rights advocates say amounts to voter suppression. 

Mangold, who helped produce films like “Ford v Ferrari” and is in talks to direct the upcoming film in the Indiana Jones franchise, according to Variety, announced he would not direct a movie in Georgia within hours of Gov. Brian KempBrian KempNorth Carolina county reverses course, ends coke machine ban MLB All-Star game to stay in Denver, judge rules MLB calls lawsuit over All-Star Game 'political theatrics' MORE (R) signing Senate Bill 202 last Thursday.

“I will not direct a film in Georgia,” Mangold tweeted on late Thursday. 

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Hamill also backed his call on Twitter a couple of days later with the hashtag “#NoMoreFilmingInGeorgia.”

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The calls drew praise from some supporters online but also criticism from others who expressed concern that a potential Hollywood boycott would hurt Georgians who rely on the film industry for jobs in the state, which has emerged as a hotspot for filming over the years.   

“Please stop the #BoycottGeorgia talk. That would hurt middle class workers and people grappling with poverty. And it would increase the harm of both racism and classism,” Bernice King, daughter of civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr., tweeted. 

“The Walking Dead” actor Steve Coulter also called for Mangold to reconsider in a tweet.

“James...we here in GA fought like hell the last 4 years to turn it blue. We gave you two Dem Senators. Your boycott only hurts us, the thousands of rank & film actors & crew. Think before you cancel. Please. We’ve worked too hard,” Coulter said. 

In follow-up tweets, Mangold pushed back on criticism that he was trying to hurt film industry workers in the state.

“I've nothing but admiration for the battle that the good hearted & Democratic minded citizens of GA [are] waging. We all must make choices. Right now, I question pumping more cash into Kemp's economy,” he tweeted. “Hopefully the Fed voting rights bill will pass & the point will become moot.”

“I am grateful for that election. But the Georgia legislature  just made that election nearly impossible to ever repeat. Pressure is required. Get angry at the right people,” he also tweeted.

“Georgia has been using cash to steal movie jobs from other states that allow people to vote. I don't want to play there. I'm not telling anyone else what to do,” he said in another tweet

Among the provisions included in the voting law signed by Kemp last week is one that would add more identification requirements for people to be able to vote absentee in the state after it saw record absentee voting in the past presidential election, which it handed to President BidenJoe BidenPutin says he's optimistic about working with Biden ahead of planned meeting How the infrastructure bill can help close the digital divide Biden meets Queen Elizabeth for first time as president MORE.

If passed, the bill would require Georgia voters to provide a driver’s license or state identification card number to vote absentee. Election authorities previously used a signature-matching process for ballot verification.

The law, which has already been met with a growing list of legal challenges from advocacy groups, also seeks to bar anyone other than poll workers from giving food or water to voters waiting in long lines to vote.

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The calls from Hamill and Mangold come as a number of businesses that operate in Georgia are also facing pressure to denounce the voting law.

Last week, reports emerged of Georgia activists planning to start a boycott targeting Coca-Cola Co., one of the largest companies in Atlanta, for not opposing the measure.  

Kemp fired back against calls for boycotts of businesses in the state this week, saying: “Boycotting Georgia businesses in the middle of a pandemic is absolutely ridiculous.”

The backlash comes years after a number of Hollywood celebrities said they would push film production crews to leave the state in March 2019 if Kemp signed legislation that sought to ban abortions once a fetus’ heartbeat was detectable.

He later signed the legislation into law in May 2019. The legislation was temporarily blocked by a federal judge in October of that year before being permanently blocked months after.