Posted on December 9, 2022

A Producer From Will Smith’s New Movie ‘Emancipation’ Brought a Photograph of an Enslaved Man to the Premiere, Sparking Backlash

Maria Noyen, Insider, December 3, 2022

A producer of Will Smith’s new film “Emancipation” sparked backlash after he brought a photograph of an enslaved man to the premiere of the movie in London on Wednesday.

Speaking to Variety on the red carpet, Joey McFarland showed off the historical image and explained why he felt he needed to bring it to the premiere. The publication reports that the image is called “The Scourged Back” and inspired the film’s plot.


According to The Metropolitan Museum, the portrait depicts a runaway slave called Gordon whose back was scarred after severe whipping. {snip}


However, not everyone agreed with McFarland’s reasoning for displaying the photograph.

Rebecca Wiggins, a producer and writer, responded to Variety’s tweet of McFarland and pointed out that he had called the individual “Peter,” and not “Gordon.”

“Did he just call the man ‘Peter?’ how disrespectful and cringy that he pulled it out his pocket! Gordon ‘was given the name ‘Whipped Peter’ for the horrific scars on his back due to constant whipping he received during his slavery.’ did he brag about owning Gordon til he dies?” Wiggins wrote.


Delia Harrington, a culture writer, also criticized McFarland’s action. She tweeted in response to Variety that there is “no reason” for the producer to have the collection. {snip}