Emancipation producer criticized for having a photo that inspired a movie

Emancipation Film producer Joey McFarland wondered why he walked the red carpet at the film’s premiere wearing the captivating image that inspired the film.

Available December 9 Emancipation is inspired by “the 1863 photos of ‘Battered Peter,’ taken during a Union Army medical examination, which first appeared in harper’s weekly”, says the synopsis of the film.

Will Smith, 54, stars as Peter, a man whose escape from slavery forces him to rely “on his wits, unwavering faith, and deep love for his family” as he flees from slave catchers and traverses Louisiana on his way to freedom.

On Wednesday, McFarland, 50, appeared at the event with the photo on which the film is based, he told a reporter with Variety.

“I have the photo, this is the original 1863 photograph“I wanted a part of Peter to be here tonight,” McFarland told the outlet.

And he added: “It’s [sad] say that so many artifacts and photographs have not been preserved, curated or respected. And I took it upon myself to curate and build a collection for future generations.”

McFarland said he is a longtime collector and plans to donate the images “for educational purposes” after his death.

“My love of history, my love of truth, my love of larger than life people who made an impact not only on some people’s lives but on the world, it’s worth fighting for, it’s worth fighting for.” preserve it, it’s worth looking for and protecting, and that’s what I sought to do,” he said.

He added that Emancipation it goes beyond “entertainment” and “cinema” and serves as “a lesson”.

“It is a conversation that is needed, it has to start and continue and continue to grow and evolve. We just need to come together,” she said. “We need to take the past into account so that future generations don’t make the same mistake.”

McFarland, who brought the image in a small plastic box, said he collects these images dating back to the 19th century, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Included in the set of photos was one called “The Scourged Back,” which McFarland credited as the most shocking. THR informed. It shows Peter’s injured back after a severe beating by his slavers, a photograph that “ultimately contributed to increasing public opposition to slavery,” according to the film’s synopsis.

RELATED VIDEO: Tiffany Haddish Attends ‘Emancipation’ Premiere After Supporting Will Smith After Oscar Slap

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Still, he received criticism as some questioned why he owns the original photo.

Black List founder Franklin Leonard shared his thoughts via Twitter, asking the producer: “Why do you own the photograph??”

He continued: “Why did you bring it to a movie premiere if the intention is to respectfully preserve it? Did you want ‘a piece of Peter’ here? Do you collect slave memorabilia that will be donated after you die? What do you do with it? Meanwhile? So many questions.”

Responding to a fan who compared McFarland’s conduct to “trade a Pokémon card,” Leonard added, “let’s very generously assume that you do, in fact, have a goal of protecting and respectfully enshrining these images in the American consciousness. How do you carry it in your pocket, share it like this, and then return it to your metaphorical pocket until your death?

#OscarsSoWhite creator April Reign also said she was disturbed after researching mcfarland collection On Instagram.

“Based on @franklinleonardThe thread above, I went to IG. Imagine my disgust at finding that. @JoeyMcFarland, #Emancipation producer, has branded his newly acquired photos of enslaved people the #McFarland Collectionand started posting right after @Emancipation filming done,” he wrote.

Another Twitter user said McFarland with the photos it’s “beyond disgusting” and urged him to do some “self-reflection” after returning it.

“I really hope @JoeyMcFarland realizes how absolutely inappropriate this is,” wrote another. “I won’t hold my breath, but what are you doing with this photo in your pocket? Please make better life decisions.”

McFarland did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

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