‘Gone with the Wind’ Temporarily Gone from HBO Max Over Racist Tropes

In light of the mass reassessment of systemic racism in America, HBO Max has temporarily pulled Gone with the Wind (1939) from its library.

The immensely popular film has long been the subject of intense criticism for its romanticized portrayal of slavery and the Civil War, so the platform has decided to make it available after providing some context.

Via statement:

"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 out history."

This seems perfectly reasonable to me. I've often, when watching an old cartoon or movie, thought, "Good grief, this is wrongheaded," and wondered how it was considered passable to air as is when a newly created work would not be given a green light were it to feature similar content.

People who say that showing a movie isn't endorsing it are overlooking the fact that curation is, in fact, endorsement and does, in fact, come with responsibility.

I approve of showing the film as it was created, along with disclaimers.

But don't ask 103-year-old (soon to be 104-year-old) Olivia de Havilland — she may answer with a lawsuit!

1 Response

  1. This is a tough call for me, I don’t like censorship in ANY form. I can see that in this case, people would not understand this was the language of the times, but are servicing young people or catering to political correctness because we’re cowards? I see both sides.

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