JACKSON, MS (WDAM) - An acclaimed actress and Mississippian has created a coalition to deliberately avoid film-making ventures in the state until the confederate flag emblem is removed from the Mississippi flag.
Aunjanue Ellis, known for her work in Ray, The Help, The Book of Negroes, and NCIS LA, announced Monday her initiative to encourage Mississippi lawmakers to remove the confederate symbol from the state flag.
According to a statement issued by Ellis, the state flag is "a blatant symbol of oppression and inequality."
Ellis has called for others to join her in her efforts.
Although unclear if this is the first instance where the state lost potential business over the flag, Chad Newell, the president of the Area Development Partnership, released the following statement:
"Greater Hattiesburg is a vibrant, diverse community with a pro-business operating environment. We always want to portray the best possible image nationally and internationally as we seek to grow the state's economy. We are progressive, inclusive, and value everyone equally. Our state should strive to remove barriers that inhibit us from reaching our full potential, socially and economically. While I've never personally had a business prospect inquire about our state flag, we theoretically could have missed out on prospective investors who viewed it negatively and never contacted us. Let's be proactive and remove the Confederate emblem that conjures emotions associated with prior injustices."
Senator Joey Filligane disagreed with Ellis' stance, stating it was not the best way to show support for her state.
"Whether you agree with everything that is going on in the state or not, if this is your home state, and you love and you are proud of it and you have family here, by taking business and industry out of the state you are only hurting those that you claim to love," said Fillingane.
Ellis said in a press conference that she will be moving her film company, Miss Myrtis Films, to Louisiana until the flag has been changed.
To see Ellis' full letter to the state, click here.