One of the producers Will SmithA new movie about a runaway slave is apologizing for bringing a photo of the real inspiration for the character to the film’s premiere.
Joey McFarland issued a mea culpa on Sunday — which drew some apparent outrage over her bringing the wallet-sized film to Wednesday’s LA premiere of ‘Deliverance’ … which she discussed with a reporter on the red carpet.
McFarland was asked how he came to own the OG photo of “Whipped Peter” from 1863 … and then he actually brought it out and showed it. His answer is to look at the importance of history and to want valuable artifacts like these to survive and be preserved — a valuable lesson we can all learn from the past.
On the face of it, there does not appear to be any error in JMF’s statement. But, of course, some questioned his phrasing — like saying he wanted a “piece of Peter” there that night — and the optics of a white man owning the film like a prop.
A few people interpreted his interview here anyway … and McFarland seems to have caught wind. That noiseand was forced to explain himself.
He writes, “I sincerely apologize to everyone I offended by bringing Peter’s photo to Liberation.First scene. My aim is to honor this remarkable man and remind the public that his image not only made a difference in 1863, but still resonates and inspires change today.
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McFarland adds, “After uncovering Peter’s origin story with the help of passionate historians, I’ve spent the last few years of Liberation’s creative time bringing his story to life so that audiences around the world will have the opportunity to appreciate his heroism. I hope the action doesn’t distract from the film’s message.” He says he wants to honor the legacy of Peter and others like him and sees no harm in displaying the photo.
Will hasn’t spoken about the controversy yet… but we know he’s in full campaign mode.