Emancipation producer slammed for wearing slavery photos

Will Smith’s slavery drama Emancipation premiered on the red carpet earlier this week and the film’s producer, Joey McFarland, is drawing some criticism.

McFarland, 50, attended the event on Wednesday and brought with him a photograph of the flogged 19th-century slave Peter – the portrait that inspired the film.

The Kentucky native was catching up diversity at the premiere and showed the reporter the picture in a plastic sleeve and explained why he was carrying it as an accessory.

“I have the photo, it’s the original 1863 photo,” McFarland told the publication. “I wanted a piece of Peter to be here tonight.”

The producer of The Wolf of Wall Street added: “That’s it [sad] to say that so many artifacts and photographs have not been preserved, curated or respected. And I’ve made it my mission to curate and build a collection for future generations.”

McFarland stated that he is a collector and hopes to donate the painting “for educational purposes” after his death.

The producer explained why he wanted to bring the slave photo to the premiere.
Getty Images

“My love of history, my love of truth, my love of larger than life individuals who have impacted not just some people’s lives but the world worth fighting for, preserving, seeking and protecting, and that’s what I wanted to do,” he said.

[‘Emancipation’] is a conversation that is needed, it needs to start and continue and keep growing and evolving. We just have to come together,” McFarland said. “We have to reckon with the past so that future generations don’t make the same mistake.”

During an interview with Variety, McFarland pulled out an 1863 photograph of Peter.

The photo of Peter’s scourged back serves as inspiration for the film in which Smith, 54, portrays the runaway slave.

Black List founder Franklin Leonard criticized McFarland’s actions, tweeting: “Why do you own the photo? Why did you bring it to a film premiere when the intent is to respectfully preserve it?

Emancipation hits theaters December 2nd and comes out December 9th on Apple TV+.
©Apple TV/courtesy Everett Co

He continued, “You wanted a ‘piece of Peter’ here? You collect slave memorabilia that will be donated after your death? What are you doing with it in the meantime? So many questions.”

Other fans were also confused and blasted McFarland’s choice as well. “The fact that a man can be so arrogant,” one wrote. “This selfish display is outrageous and incredibly disrespectful. When will it stop?”

Smith plays Peter, a slave on the run from slavers in Louisiana.

Another person interfered: “He couldn’t wait to pull it out of his bag on the red carpet. It’s gross and performative, and no matter how well this film does or not, it’s always going to be disgusting as it proudly displays its ownership of a photograph of an enslaved man who has nothing to do with it.”

“What a colossally inappropriate thing on any level. He shouldn’t own it. Shouldn’t use the wrong name for it. And definitely shouldn’t bring it to show and tell,” wrote another.

https://nypost.com/2022/12/02/emancipation-producer-slammed-for-carrying-slavery-photo/ Emancipation producer slammed for wearing slavery photos

Emma Bowman

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