- HBO Max has temporarily pulled the 1939 movie “Gone With The Wind” from their service because of the movie’s “racist depictions.”
- A spokesperson told Variety: “We felt that to keep this title up without an explanation and a denouncement of those depictions would be irresponsible.”
- The spokesperson confirmed that the film would eventually return to their service, but will be accompanied by “a discussion of its historical context and a denouncement of those very depictions.”
- The decision comes after “12 Years a Slave” screenwriter penned an op-ed for the LA Times in which he wrote that the film perpetuates “some of the most painful stereotypes of people of color.”
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HBO Max has temporarily pulled the 1939 movie “Gone With The Wind” following an LA Times op-ed by “12 Years a Slave” screenwriter John Ridley.
On June 9, HBO Max pulled the movie from their service, with a spokesperson telling Variety:
“‘Gone With The Wind’ is a product of its time and depicts some of the ethnic and racial prejudices that have, unfortunately, been commonplace in American society. These racist depictions were wrong then and are wrong today, and we felt that to keep this title up without an explanation and a denouncement of those depictions would be irresponsible.”
HBO Max confirmed that the film will eventually return to the service, but will return with “a discussion of its historical context and a denouncement of those very depictions.” It will, however, be presented unaltered in its original form, as HBO Max said “to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed.”
The spokesperson said: “If we are to create a more just, equitable and inclusive future, we must first acknowledge and understand our history.”
In his op-ed for the LA Times, posted on June 8, Ridley said that the film, which won 8 Academy Awards including best picture, “romanticizes the Confederacy in a way that continues to give legitimacy to the notion that the secessionist movement was something more, or better, or more noble than what it was — a bloody insurrection to maintain the ‘right’ to own, sell and buy human beings.”
Ridley, who won an Oscar for his “12 Years a Slave” screenplay, wrote: “It is a film that glorifies the antebellum south. It is a film that, when it is not ignoring the horrors of slavery, pauses only to perpetuate some of the most painful stereotypes of people of color.”
Ridley does state that he doesn’t believe in censorship, nor does he want the movie “relegated to a vault in Burbank.” Instead, Ridley requested that after a respectful amount of time… the film be re-introduced to the HBO Max platform along with other films that give a more broad-based and complete picture of what slavery and the Confederacy truly were.”
Ridley concluded his op-ed: “I would ask that all content providers look at their libraries and make a good-faith effort to separate programming that might be lacking in its representation from that which is blatant in its demonization.”
“Gone With The Wind” follows a man and woman conducting a wild romance during the American Civil War and the period after the war ended, and is set on a plantation near Atlanta. Starring Vivienne Leigh, who won the best actress Oscar for the film, Clark Gable, and Olivia de Havilland, it is one of the biggest movies in American cinema history.
Hattie McDaniel became the first Black person ever to win an Oscar. She won best supporting actress for playing Mammy, the house servant.