Emancipation director, Joey McFarland, apologized yesterday for bringing the original “Whipped Peter” photograph to the film’s premiere.

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“I wholeheartedly apologize to everyone I have offended by bringing a photograph of Peter to the ‘Emancipation’ premiere,” McFarland wrote in an Instagram post. “My intent was to honor this remarkable man and to remind the general public that his image not only brought about change in 1863 but still resonates and promotes change today.” 

McFarland continued his apology, saying that he spent the last few years working with historians on uncovering Peter’s story and bringing his story to life on the big screen. He hopes his “actions don’t distract from the film’s message.”


McFarland made headlines last week during Emancipation’s Los Angeles premiere when he showed the picture during a red-carpet interview.

“This is the original photograph from 1863. And I wanted it to be here tonight. I wanted a piece of Peter to be here tonight,” McFarland said after being asked how he could get the photograph. “It’s sad to say that so many artifacts and photographs have not been preserved or curated or respected, and I took it upon myself to curate and build a collection for future generations,” McFarland added.

The Emancipation producer added that he has been curating this collection of slavery-era artifacts for years and will be donated after his death for educational purposes.

You can check out his apology below.

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