Obamas' first White House dog, Bo, dies
'Black Panther' director condemns Georgia voting law but says sequel will film in state
The director of "Black Panther" on Friday spoke out against Georgia's controversial new voting law but added that he plans to continue filming the sequel to the Marvel superhero movie in the Peach State.
In a guest column for Deadline published Friday, Ryan Coogler, who was also a producer on the Oscar-nominated film "Judas and the Black Messiah," wrote that he was "profoundly disappointed" when he learned of the bill's passage.
The sweeping legislation, signed into law by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) last month, imposes several voting restrictions in the state, including requiring a photo ID for absentee ballots and prohibiting nonelection workers from providing food and water to voters in line at polling places.
The bill, S.B. 202, has been panned by Democrats and voting rights activists as a measure of voter suppression that targets communities of color in particular.
"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.
"While I wished to turn my concern into action, I could not do so without first being educated on the specifics of Georgia," the director continued.
"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 added.
"For those reasons, I will not be engaging in a boycott of Georgia," Coogler said, noting that he will instead be "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."
Coogler went on to endorse the For the People Act, which passed in the U.S. House and seeks in part to reduce barriers to voting and voting hour limits. It also seeks to restore voting rights for individuals who have completed felony sentences and limit partisan gerrymandering.
The director also said that he would be donating to Fair Fight Action, a voting rights organization founded by former Georgia state Rep. Stacey Abrams (D), who late last month wrote in a USA Today op-ed that it is often the case that "those least resilient bear the brunt" of boycotts.
The former Georgia gubernatorial candidate also reportedly urged MLB to keep its All-Star Game in Atlanta, arguing that boycotts over the voting law were not necessary.
MLB ended up moving forward with its decision to take the game out of the Peach State, which prompted backlash from conservatives and other proponents of the Georgia law.
Republicans have argued that the law is necessary to restore confidence in the integrity of Georgia's voting system, which was repeatedly called into question by former President Trump and his allies with unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election.
Several Hollywood actors, producers and executives have already announced that they would be turning projects away from Georgia in opposition to the law, including Will Smith, who said this week that he and Antoine Fuqua, the director of his upcoming project, "Emancipation," would no longer be hosting production in the state.
A group of Hollywood stars and business leaders also signed an open letter published in The Washington Post this week condemning voting restrictions.
The two-page ad included support from George Clooney, Queen Latifah, Kerry Washington and Katy Perry.