As anti-racism protests sweep the nation after the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others, HBO Max is temporarily removing Gone With The Wind from its library after criticism. The film has been controversial for years for its harmful depictions of Black people and how it portrays slavery. The 1939 film started Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable, Hattie McDaniel and Olivia de Havilland.
In a statement, the streamer 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. 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. 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 understand our history.”
The temporary removal comes after Oscar-winning writer of 12 Years a Slave and American Crime creator, John Ridley, said that the film should be pulled from the platform. He wrote in an op-ed for The Los Angeles Times: “It doesn’t just ‘fall short’ with regard to representation. 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…It is a film that, as part of the narrative of the ‘Lost Cause,’ 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.’
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