HBO Max has taken Gone with the Wind off its streaming service amid the growing calls for anti-racist change. When the film returns, it will be accompanied by "a discussion of its historical context and a denouncement of those very depictions."
The move comes after John Ridley, Oscar-winning screenwriter of 12 Years a Slave, published an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times calling on HBO Max to take down the movie for a time, and later re-add it to the platform with some form of context attached.
"The movie had the very best talents in Hollywood at that time working together to sentimentalize a history that never was," Ridley wrote. "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.'"
Ridley laid out exactly how he envisioned what taking the film down would look like. "Let me be real clear: I don’t believe in censorship. I don’t think ‘Gone With the Wind’ should be relegated to a vault in Burbank. I would just ask, after a respectful amount of time has passed, that the film be re-introduced to the HBO Max platform along with other films that give a more broad-based and complete picture of what slavery and the Confederacy truly were. Or, perhaps it could be paired with conversations about narratives and why it’s important to have many voices sharing stories from different perspectives rather than merely those reinforcing the views of the prevailing culture."
An HBO Max spokesperson announced the move this morning: "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 added that when the film reappears on the platform, "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."
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