Story at a glance
- Old Hollywood film “Gone with the Wind” has been temporarily pulled from HBO Max’s film library.
- “Racist depictions were wrong then and are wrong today,” an HBO spokesperson says, “and we felt that to keep this title up without an explanation and a denouncement of those depictions would be irresponsible.”
- The movie will return with an updated statement on the accuracy of the film’s depiction of the Civil War and slavery.
The film adaptation of the literary classic “Gone with the Wind” has been temporarily removed from HBO Max’s film selection, with the company citing problematic depictions of slavery, the antebellum South and Reconstruction Era.
The removal comes following nationwide protests condemning the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for over eight minutes. Floyd’s death, as well as those of other black Americans like Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, catalyzed thousands to take to the streets and demand structural reform of racist institutions and enhanced police accountability.
In response, some government officials have also begun removing iconography that harkens to America’s history of slavery and black oppression, including multiple Confederate memorials and the Confederate flag.
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“Gone with the Wind,” the film adaptation made in 1939 starring Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable, has also been considered a relic idolizing the culture of the American South during the Civil War. Specifically, critics have decried the film’s romanticization of slavery and black stereotypes within the cast.
Speaking with CNN, an HBO Max spokesperson said that the film 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,” the spokesperson continued.
“Gone with the Wind” is not gone from the platform forever. The spokesperson said the film “will return with a discussion of its historical context and a denouncement of those very depictions.”
Rather than edit any parts out, the movie will run with the same scenes “as it was originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed,” according to the spokesperson. “If we are to create a more just, equitable and inclusive future, we must first acknowledge and understand our history,” the spokesperson added.
Other television shows have been canceled following the Black Lives Matter protests sparked by Floyd’s death. The long-running show “Cops,” which had been set to debut Monday, has been canceled.
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