U.K. Votes to Leave European Union

Credit: Getty / Ian Forsyth

The vote comes after weeks of fierce campaigning on both sides of the so-called "Brexit" debate, with the U.K.'s creative industries largely backing the remain camp. Early media reports signal the U.K. will leave.

The U.K. electorate has voted to leave the European Union in Thursday's historic referendum, according to projections by the BBC and ITV.

Early media reports were revealed early Friday morning in the U.K. following months of intense campaigning from both sides of the so-called "Brexit" debate that many polls going into the vote indicated was neck-and-neck. The move sees the U.K. depart from the 28-state economic and political union, which was formally established in 1993.

As of 6:30 a.m. local time, the "leave" vote stood at 52 percent, with the "remain" vote at 48 percent, according to latest data.

Former London mayor Boris Johnson and secretary of state for justice Michael Gove were at the forefront of the "leave" campaign, while British prime minister David Cameron and leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn had been among those backing the "remain" camp.

The referendum has dominated media coverage across the U.K., with both sides aggressively setting out their agendas and both heavily criticized for offering misleading statements and statistics about the consequences of leaving and staying in the E.U.

The issue has split Britain down the middle but not so the country's creative sector, which had largely come out in favor of remaining.

A group of leading producers – including Working Titles Eric Fellner and Tim Bevan, Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson – issued a statement urging Brits to stay in the U.K. for the benefit of the film industry, while more than 250 personalities such as Patrick Stewart, Benedict Cumberbatch and Steve McQueen signed a letter claiming that the U.K. was "not just stronger in Europe, it is more imaginative and more creative."