HBO Max has temporarily pulled "Gone with the Wind" amid protests of police brutality, but the premium cable channel says it will put the movie back again at a later date with a "discussion of its historical context and a denouncement of those very depictions" of blacks and slavery.
“`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,'' an HBO Max spokesperson said Tuesday. “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.''
"Gone with the Wind" won 10 Oscars when it was released in 1939, including 'Best Picture,' but it has been criticized over the years for its depiction of black stereotypes and its depiction of slavery. When adjusted for inflation, the movie one of the most popular ever released with its box office receipts standing tall above all other movies until it was eclipsed by "The Sound of Music" in 1966. Subsequent re-released in 1967 and 1971 allowed it to regain the title until it was surpassed by "The Godfather" in 1972.
The move by HBO Max to remove "Gone with the Wind" from its offerings comes after director, screenwriter and novelist John Ridley wrote an op-ed published in the Los Angeles Times that recommended the premium cable channel remove the movie about the antebellum south from its catalogue.
“As a filmmaker I get that movies are often snapshots of moments in history,'' Ridley wrote. “They reflect not only the attitudes and opinions of those involved in their creation, but also those of the prevailing culture. As such, even the most well-intentioned films can fall short in how they represent marginalized communities.
“`Gone with the Wind,' however, is 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.," he added.
There's no word on when "Gone with the Wind" will return to HBO Max.
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