'Gone With The Wind' pulled down from HBO Max amid anti-racism protests

WION Web Team
New DelhiUpdated: Jun 10, 2020, 11:42 AM IST


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The film, which is based on Margaret Mitchell's 1936 book by the same name, has long been a point of discussion for its depiction of Black people and its positive view of slavery.

One of Hollywood's cult classic 'Gone With The Wind' which released in 1939, has been pulled down by HBO Max from its liberary temporarily amid racial protest.

The film, which is based on Margaret Mitchell's 1936 book by the same name, has long been a point of discussion for its depiction of Black people and its positive view of slavery.

A few days earlier, the film again came under scrutiny when '12 Years A Slave' screenwriter John Ridley wrote an op-ed appeared for Los Angeles Times.

In the article titled 'Hey, HBO, 'Gone With the Wind' romanticizes the horrors of slavery. Take it off your platform for now', the Oscar winner argued that the film had its "own unique problem".

"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," Ridley wrote.

"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," he added.

Meanwhile, HBO Max, a recently launched streaming service from WarnerMedia, said the film will eventually return but will feature a "discussion of its historical context and a denouncement" of its racist depictions.

"'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," a spokesperson for HBO Max said.

The film starred Hollywood icons, Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable, in lead roles. The film was set in the American South, on a plantation outside Atlanta and narrated the love story of southern aristocrats Scarlett O'Hara (Leigh) and Rhett Butler (Gable).

The four hour-long film, directed by Victor Fleming, also starred Hattie McDaniel and Olivia de Havilland. 'Gone With the Wind' eventually won eight Oscars at the 12th Academy Awards, including best picture, director, adapted screenplay, actress and supporting actress for McDaniel.

McDaniel, who played house servant Mammy at the O'Haras, became the first black person to win the award but due to racial segregation at the ceremony, she sat separately from her co-stars, at a table at the back of the room.

The move made by HBO Max is one of the several measures media companies are taking amid racial tension in America. Media companies are reportedly reassessing content in the wake of protests over police brutality and systemic racism after the death of George Floyd, an African American man killed by Minnesota police a few weeks back.