Updated 6/24: HBO Max has reportedly returned Gone with the Windto its streaming platform, this time with a four-and-a-half minute intro leading into the movie. The intro aims to put the film's racist depictions into context with a message delivered by Jacqueline Stewart, who talks about the film's accolades as well as the protests against the depiction of the Antebellum South, slavery, and racial inequality.
"Watching Gone with the Wind can be uncomfortable, even painful," Stewart says in the intro. "Still, it is important that classic Hollywood films are available to us in their original form for viewing and discussion. They reflect the social context in which they were made and invite viewers to reflect on their own values and beliefs when watching them now."
As conversations about racism continue throughout the country and the world, HBO Max has responded by temporarily removing Gone With the Wind from its streaming catalog. The classic film, which has long been criticized for the way it perpetuates racist stereotypes, will eventually return to the platform, but when it does, it will also contain some additional details about its historical context and a condemnation of its racist depictions.
In a statement provided to Variety, an HBO Max spokesperson explained, "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 decision to take the film down followed a Los Angeles Times op-ed by 12 Years a Slave writer and American Crime creator John Ridley, which was titled, "Hey, HBO, Gone With the Wind romanticizes the horrors of slavery. Take it off your platform for now." In his op-ed, Ridley wrote that Gone With the Wind "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." Ridley called for HBO Max to remove it for the time being and return it to the streaming service "after a respectful amount of time." Ridley also urged HBO Max to add "other films that give a more broad-based and complete picture of what slavery and the Confederacy truly were." HBO Max clearly took this call to action seriously and temporarily removed the 1939 picture from its library.
While Gone With the Wind was pulled from HBO Max's library for now, the film is still available to rent and purchase on many other platforms, including Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, and more. Many on social media are scoffing at any outrage over its temporary removal from the platform.
Meanwhile, Hulu has also removed Little Britain, the Matt Lucas and David Walliams sketch comedy series, from its library due to the show's use of blackface, and Paramount has cancelled the reality series Cops amid ongoing protests against police brutality following the murder of George Floyd.
Black lives matter. Text DEMANDS to 55156 to sign Color of Change's petition to reform policing, and visit blacklivesmatters.carrd.co for more ways to donate, sign petitions, and protest safely.