HBO Max pulls Gone With the Wind in wake of racism protests

A scene from Gone With the Wind
Clark Gable and Vivienne Leigh in a scene from Gone With the Wind. Pic credit: Selznick International Pictures via Movieclips/YouTube

HBO Max removed the 1939 film Gone With the Wind from its platform on Tuesday.

The move comes in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests following the death of George Floyd in the hands of Minneapolis police officers.

It also comes after screenwriter John Ridley (12 Years a Slave) published an op-ed on the Los Angeles Times, calling for Gone With the Winds to be taken down.

According to Ridley, Gone With the Wind is offensive because it attempts to embellish the slaveholding antebellum South and promotes unfair racial stereotypes.

However, an HBO spokesperson later told Variety that Gone With the Wind was only removed temporarily.

The streaming platform plans to reinstate the movie with an explanation about the historical context that influenced the racist depictions and themes of the film.

Gone With the Wind reflects the racial prejudices of its times

In a statement, HBO Max said Gone With the Wind reflects the racial prejudices prevalent in American society in the early 1900s.

The offensive racial depictions are “counter to WarnerMedia’s values,” thus it would be wrong to include the film in HBO Max’s library without an explanation, the statement said.

It concluded:

“So when we return the film to HBO Max, it will return with a discussion of its historical context and a denouncement of those very depictions but will be presented as it was originally created because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed. If we are to create a more just, equitable, and inclusive future, we must first acknowledge and understand our history.”

Meanwhile, as part of the fallout in the aftermath of George Floyd protests, Paramount Network also canceled its documentary series Cops.

A&E was said to be “evaluating things” after pulling last week’s episodes of Live PD.

What is Gone With the Wind about?

Gone With the Wind, which starred Clark Gable, Vivienne Leigh, Olivia de Havilland, and Hattie McDaniel, is set in the era during and immediately after the American Civil War.

It follows the complicated relationship of Scarlett O’Hara (Vivienne Leigh), who lives on her father’s cotton plantation in Georgia, and the aristocratic Rhett Butler (Clark Gable).

Gone With the Wind is widely considered a classic of American cinema and one of the greatest movies of all time.

The movie won multiple Academy Awards, including the best-supporting actress for Hattie McDaniel, who played the black house servant Mammy.

McDaniel was the first black person to win an Oscar.

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