HBO Max has pulled the American classic “Gone with the Wind” from its service this week amid protests and riots that have broken out across the U.S. in response to the death of George Floyd. The company later said that the movie would eventually be brought back, but only with a “a discussion of its historical context and a denouncement of those very depictions.”
“Considered a classic of American cinema and winner of eight competitive Academy Awards, including best picture, the 1939 film starring Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh and Hattie McDaniel tells the story of southern belle Scarlett O’Hara and her love affair with Rhett Butler,” The Wall Street Journal reported. “Much of the four-hour film is set on the O’Hara plantation, Tara, and in Atlanta during and after the Civil War.”
HBO Max told The Wall Street Journal in a statement that the film was a “product of its time and depicts some of the ethnic and racial prejudices that have, unfortunately, been commonplace in American society.”
The report noted that the move by HBO Max comes after John Ridley wrote an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times calling for the movie to be pulled off the streaming service. Ridley wrote:
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.
The movie had the very best talents in Hollywood at that time working together to sentimentalize a history that never was. And it continues to give cover to those who falsely claim that clinging to the iconography of the plantation era is a matter of “heritage, not hate.”
In the movie, Hattie McDaniel plays the role of “Mammy,” a housemaid and former enslaved woman. “McDaniel, who won the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award, was the first African American actress or actor ever to be honored with an Oscar,” History notes.
Online, HBO Max faced widespread backlash over its decision as critics expressed anger over the far-left’s increasing attempts to erase American history.
I dislike boycotts and boycott culture, but at some point you have to draw a line. This is probably the line. Boycott HBO until they come to their senses. The normal people of America need to be heard. https://t.co/07JAuRPi5j
— Noah Pollak (@NoahPollak) June 10, 2020
This is worse than an empty gesture; it's an empty gesture that is costuming itself as real action. Also, rewriting America's deeply flawed cultural history by pretending the parts that shame us can just be deleted is not a path forward. https://t.co/x1fe8FVRTK
— Mark Harris (@MarkHarrisNYC) June 10, 2020
Digital equivalent of book burning… https://t.co/QQ3ylN6ERf
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) June 10, 2020
The cultural cleanse continues … https://t.co/ykxLrYT6en
— James Morrow (@pwafork) June 10, 2020
Who knows how far this might go? https://t.co/rFkwFBAQVg
— Byron York (@ByronYork) June 10, 2020
Watch out, Blazing Saddles. You're next. https://t.co/LnypGU3JMS
— Joseph A. Wulfsohn (@JosephWulfsohn) June 10, 2020
After The Wall Street Journal published its initial report, HBO Max released a statement, which the The Wall Street Journal later added, saying that the movie would eventually come back but that it would only return with “a discussion of its historical context and a denouncement of those very depictions.”
— TVMoJoe (@TVMoJoe) June 10, 2020
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