Will Smith’s slavery drama “Emancipation” held its red carpet premiere 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 19th-century photo of the whipped slave Peter — the portrait that inspired the film.
This Kentucky native was caught up with VarietyThe reporter saw the photo in the plastic case at the premiere. He explained that he had it as an accessory.
“I have the photo, this is the original photograph from 1863,”McFarland shared his thoughts with the publication. “I wanted a piece of Peter to be here tonight.”
“The Wolf of Wall Street”Additional information from the producer: “It’s [sad] to say so many artifacts and photographs have not been preserved or curated or respected. And I took it upon myself to curate and build a collection for future generations.”
McFarland stated that he’s a collector who hopes to give the image when he passes away “for educational purposes.”
“My love of history, my love of truth, my love of larger-than-life individuals that had an impact on not just some people’s lives but the world, it’s worth fighting for, it’s worth preserving, it’s worth seeking out and protecting, and that’s what I sought to do,”He said.
[‘Emancipation’]It is necessary to have a dialogue. We just need to come together,” McFarland pointed out. “We need to reckon with the past so future generations don’t make the same mistake.”
The photograph of Peter’s scourged back serves as the inspiration for the film, in which Smith, 54, portrays the runaway slave.
Franklin Leonard is the founder of The Black List. criticized McFarland’s actions, tweeting: “Why do you own the photograph? Why did you bring it to a movie premiere if the intent is to preserve it respectfully?”
He continued: “You wanted a ‘piece of Peter’ here? You collect slave memorabilia that will be donated upon your death? What do you do with it in the meantime? So many questions.”
Other fans were also confused, also blasting McFarland’s choice. “The fact that a man could be so arrogant,”One wrote. “This egotistical display is egregious and incredibly disrespectful. When will it stop?”
An additional person chimed in: “He couldn’t WAIT to pull it out his pocket at the red carpet. This is gross and performative and no matter how well this movie does or doesn’t do, him proudly displaying his ownership of a photo of an enslaved man unrelated to him will always be disgusting.”
“What a colossally inappropriate thing to do on every level. He shouldn’t own it. Shouldn’t use the wrong name for it. And definitely should not bring it to show and tell,”Another person wrote.
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