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HBO Max Removes 'Gone With the Wind' Amid Global Racial Justice Protests

HBO Max Removes 'Gone With the Wind' Amid Global Racial Justice Protests

HBO Max is letting go of Gone With the Wind.

The streaming service quietly removed the Academy Award-winning 1939 film from its selection amid global protests condemning systemic racism and police brutality, various news outlets reported on Tuesday (June 9) following an op-ed by 12 Years a Slave screenwriter John Ridley in the LA Times about reconsidering the movie’s availability.

“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 wrote in the piece.

“Currently, there is not even a warning or disclaimer preceding the film. I know taking down a film — particularly a classic Hollywood film — seems like a big request. But it’s not nearly as big a demand as when your children ask whether they can join protests in the streets against racial intolerance, or when they come to you wanting to know what you did to make the world a better place.”

HBO Max then issued a statement to clarify what’s happening: “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.”

Here’s a plot summary of the film: “On the eve of the American Civil War, rich, beautiful and self-centered Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh) has everything she could want – except the handsome Ashley Wilkes (Leslie Howard). When war devastates the South, Scarlett must concern herself with more important things than girlhood love. As the nation and the world changes around her, Scarlet finds an adult tenacity that carries her through all obstacles, still in pursuit of what she wants – the man that got away. Sparks fly along the way as the wily Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) comes in and out of her life – the only man she has met who is a match for her strong will. Only after Rhett walks out on her does Scarlett realize what she has lost… and decides to win him back.”

This star of The Help recently spoke out about much better movies to watch to “go further” amid Black Lives Matter protests. Here are more resources to help support the Black Lives Matter cause.

Gone With the Wind is still available to buy or rent on YouTube Movies.

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