Activists used Sunday night's Game of Thrones airing to attack the show's executive producers' next project on Twitter, prompting a response from HBO, home of Game of Thrones and David Benioff and D.B. Weiss' controversial upcoming alternate timeline series Confederate.
The backlash to Confederate, which is to be set in a version of the present where the South won the Civil War and slavery is legal, was swift and vehement when the series from Game of Thrones showrunners Benioff and Weiss along with Malcolm Spellman and Nichelle Tramble Spellman was announced earlier this month. Critics say the show is irresponsible and will trivialize black people's suffering and glamorize slaveowners.
On Friday, activist April Reign, who created the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag that successfully changed the conversation around diversity in the films honored by the Academy Awards, announced a new hashtag campaign, #NoConfederate, that's seeking to get Confederate canceled before production starts. "We believe the time to speak up is now, before the show has been written or cast. Before HBO invests too much money into Confederate," Reign wrote. The hashtag trended on Twitter while Game of Thrones aired Sunday night, with participants sharing thoughts such as "#NoConfederate b/c racists, already emboldened by Trump, don't deserve to have their views seen & legitimized anymore."
HBO responded to #NoConfederate, providing a statement to Variety: "We have great respect for the dialogue and concern being expressed around 'Confederate.' We have faith that Nichelle, Dan, David and Malcolm will approach the subject with care and sensitivity. The project is currently in its infancy so we hope that people will reserve judgment until there is something to see."
The call to reserve judgement echoes what the show's creators and HBO's programming president have said. Casey Bloys said that the network knew the subject matter would be controversial and wishes HBO had handled the announcement of the show more carefully, but that the show is a "risk worth taking."
While the creators are not going to make an explicitly pro-slavery show, critics essentially say that the creators' intentions don't matter in the face of the reality black Americans deal with.
"There has been so much deliberate miseducation around the Civil War, and this basically rewrites black history of the past 150 years," activist Bree Newsome told The Hollywood Reporter. "We combat racism through educating people on history, so it's dangerous to present alternative histories when people are still not clear on the facts."
Confederate is still slated to go into production sometime in the future once it's been written.