Gone with the Wind, the 10-time Academy Award winner and highest-grossing movie of all-time (when adjusted for inflation), was one of the landmarks films available on HBO Max at launch. But the streaming service has since removed the Civil War-set epic, starring Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable, and Hattie McDaniel (who, as “Mammy,” became the first African-American to win an Oscar), due to “racist depictions.”
HBO Max pulled the 1939 film a day after John Ridley, the screenwriter of 12 Years a Slave, wrote an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times calling for its removal. “At a moment when we are all considering what more we can do to fight bigotry and intolerance, I would ask that all content providers look at their libraries and make a good-faith effort to separate programming that might be lacking in its representation from that which is blatant in its demonization,” he wrote. HBO responded with the following 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 our history.”
So, Gone with the Wind is, ahem, gone for for now, but will be coming back with “a discussion of its historical context” (hopefully without all those war scenes). Unlike Song of the South, which Disney continues to refuse to add to Disney+. As you might imagine, there are a lot of Hot Takes about Gone with the Wind being removed, most of which, frankly, my dear, you shouldn’t give a damn about. But some are good. “My only opinion on Gone with the Wind right now is I find it hilarious so many racists are pretending they want it on HBO Max because it made Hattie McDaniel the first black person to win an Oscar,” Keep It podcast host Ira Madison III wrote on Twitter, later adding, “The people mad about this were never going to watch Gone with the Wind in the first damn place.”
If @hbomax really wants to do something about Gone With the Wind, they should take a look at @gmgeiko's script Selznick's Folly, a Hattie McDaniel biopic centered on the making of the film. (She's also an alumna of the @WomenInFilm/@theblcklst Episodic lab for a different script)
— Franklin Leonard (@franklinleonard) June 10, 2020
For those who are citing Hattie McDaniel's win for Gone With The Wind, please also share she wasn't allowed to sit at table with her film's white colleagues and fellow nominees. They put her at a small, isolated table far away.
— Wajahat "Social Distance Yourself" Ali (@WajahatAli) June 10, 2020
I know I’m going to get asked, so: I believe Hollywood’s history of racism should be openly discussed. As I explained in the @RememberThisPod season about Song of the South, when the industry tries to hide that history by de-circulating the products, they become fetish objects.
— Karina Longworth (@KarinaLongworth) June 10, 2020
Nobody asked y'all to get rid of Gone With the Wind! We asked you to stop telling lies like "Black people don't sell overseas" and "Black people don't like science fiction." https://t.co/YdqvEWwTkL
— Cheryl Lynn Eaton (@cheryllynneaton) June 10, 2020
Release Gone With the Wind as 1,257 episodes on Quibi you cowards
— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) June 10, 2020
Hundreds of people who haven't watched Gone with the Wind and never would are suddenly furious that one streaming service removed it from their lineup. Gotcha.
— Scott Weinberg (@scottEweinberg) June 10, 2020
Not for nothing but I like to watch movies like 'Gone with the Wind' to rememberer how stupid their politics were/are.
— Jeffrey Wright (@jfreewright) June 10, 2020
Honestly, this joke on The Muppet Movie poster is the only good thing that ever came from Gone with the Wind. pic.twitter.com/V7qUVMjTRn
— Muppet History (@HistoryMuppet) June 10, 2020
(Via Hollywood Reporter)