HBO Max Pulls ‘Gone With the Wind’ Amid Racial Tensions
HBO Max has pulled Gone with the Wind from its library of movies. The film was pulled amid escalated racial tension following the death of George Floyd.
The HBO streaming service announced Tuesday it has temporarily pulled the classic 1939 film, which has long been considered controversial due to the way it portrays black people and its glorification of slavery.
The film will return "with a discussion of its historical context and a denouncement of those very depictions," a spokesperson for the service said in a statement. "These racist depictions were wrong then and are wrong today," HBO Max said in a statement. "(Keeping) this title up without an explanation and a denouncement of those depictions would be irresponsible."
The removal of the film comes as a response to an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times this week by John Ridley, the Academy Award-winning screenwriter of "12 Years a Slave," asking HBO Max to take the film out of its rotation. However, Ridley made it clear that he didn't want "Gone with the Wind" to be "relegated to a vault in Burbank," California, but rather be taken down for a "respectful amount of time."
The film, that starred Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable, and Olivia de Havilland, won eight Academy Awards and is one of the highest-grossing movies of all time. Actress Hattie McDaniel became the first African American to win an Oscar when she won best supporting actress for the role of Mammy in the film.
The movie is a Civil War drama focusing on the life of southern belle and follows her life through the tragic history of the South during the Civil War and Reconstruction, along with her tangled love affairs.
A spokesperson for HBO said, "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," the statement said. "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." They went on to say,
"These depictions are certainly counter to WarnerMedia's values, 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 underhand our history."
Recently, A & E pulled their "Live PD" off the air as a show of respect for the Floyd family as well as the long running "Cops" being canceled on networks across the country.