Producer of Will Smith’s ‘Emancipation’ issues apology for bringing photo of Black trauma to premiere to show off

Image via Apple TV

If you thought Will Smith was the most controversial part of Emancipation, a producer on the film has got news for you. He brought an infamous photo to the premiere, and, now, after a wave of criticism, he has apologized for deciding to go and do so.

Joey McFarland posted the above earlier today on Instagram after receiving a wave of scorn when he showed off the original “Scourged Back” photo of Gordon or “Whipped Peter” at the film’s premiere. The piece is based on Gordon or Peter’s purported exploits, the photo of his mutilated back helped the abolitionist cause during the Civil War era, and, while its authenticity and the story behind it are debated today, it remains an image of Black suffering burned into the public consciousness of all who see it.

So, naturally, a rich white man having it did not go over well.

Many are not impressed with his response as of this story’s filing either. Several have called him out for improperly naming the figure (who is commonly thought to have been called Gordon) and say he did not address the biggest concerns of his critics.

For another, the way McFarland displayed the image was akin to how a child would show off a beloved collection and they question just what would have happened to it had he not shown it. Ultimately, his intentions now can be heavily debated by all.

Emancipation will be available to watch on Apple TV Plus. It has a 50 percent rotten rating on Rotten Tomatoes so far.