‘Emancipation Producer Criticized After Walking Red Carpet With Photograph That Inspired Film

‘Emancipation Producer Criticized After Walking Red Carpet With Photograph That Inspired Film

© Courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter

Oscar-nominated producer Joey McFarland, who previously made headlines for his role in the 1MDB embezzlement scandal, is again sparking controversy. At the premiere of Emancipation on Wednesday, McFarland turned heads as she walked the red carpet in an original photo inspired by the film.

On the rug, McFarland told reporters he kept a collection of 19th-century photographs of African Americans, citing his "love of history".

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“They are very badly singled out, protected, and protected. So, over the last few decades, I have searched for and retrieved as many forgotten and lost photos as I can,” McFarland told The Hollywood Reporter Wednesday. He said the photo, known as "Broken Back," impressed him in interviews. showing a photo he took and saying in a video circulating on the Internet that he brought it so "A Piece of Peter" could be with him for the first time.

Critics on social media have questioned why these Civil War era artifacts are in his private collection and not in a museum. Blacklister Franklin Leonard questioned the decision and circulated a long thread that McFarland, who said he would donate his collection posthumously, had talked it into increasing the value of his collection.

Joey McFarland © The Hollywood Reporter by Joey McFarland

"Why is the photo yours?" If his goal was to protect her with respect, why did you bring him to the premiere? You want a "Peter piece" here. Do you collect posthumous slave memorabilia? What were you doing while waiting? Lots of questions,” Leonard tweeted, likening him to a superhero movie producer walking the carpet with a rare comic in hopes of increasing its value.

April Rhine, who created #OscarsSoWhite, noted with "disgust" that McFarland tagged #McFarlandCollection on Instagram and began posting them after Emancipation ended.

"A lot of people saw this photo and used it as a symbol of slavery," McFarland told THR of the photo that inspired the film. "He was a person, what was his history, what was his family, what happened to him? So that was a deep dive for me. I hired a lot of historians, we dug through archives and found his identity, found his past, I put it together."

Emancipation, directed by Antoine Fuqua, stars Will Smith as Peter. Screenwriter: William N. Collage

On Tuesday, the producer, who also describes himself as a "zealous cinematographer, writer, amateur historian, and curator of truth," said he saw the subject of the picture as heroes and warriors, not victims.

“We don't need to ignore, hide or hide the past. We must protect it. We have to protect those wounds, those wounds, we have to fully expose them so we don't repeat the same mistake," continued McFarland. Lost forever. It's part of my mission."

McFarland has been involved in controversy before. He was involved in the 1MDB scandal, in which billions in Malaysia's sovereign wealth fund were stolen by Malaysian businessman Chow Low.

Lowe used some of the money he embezzled to indulge Hollywood stars and personalities, including Paris Hilton and Leonardo DiCaprio. Through Hilton, he befriended McFarland, who later worked as a party planner and helped fund his film production aspirations, putting him in touch with Reza Aziz so they could start Red. Granite Productions and make The Wolf of Wall Street , which he financed. . . Millions were stolen by Lowe. Aziz is currently on trial in Malaysia, while his father-in-law, former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, is serving a 12-year prison sentence for corruption. Red Granite eventually settled a $60 million embezzlement case with the US government in 2018, and in 2019 the government seized tens of millions from accounts belonging to McFarland, which returned millions of dollars in art donated by Lowe.

McFarland, who was never charged with a crime, was nominated for an Oscar for The Wolf of Wall Street and also directed Christian Bale starring Out of the Furnace and Daddy's Home .

McFarland did not respond to additional requests for comment.

— Alex Rittman contributed to this story.

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