‘We felt that to keep this title up without an explanation and a denouncement of those depictions would be irresponsible…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) HBO Max pulled Gone with the Wind from its library of films because of its depiction of race and slavery.
The streaming service announced on Tuesday that users will no longer be able to access the classic film, which also happens to be one of the most popular films ever made.
But because the film “depicts some of the ethnic and racial prejudices that have, unfortunately, been commonplace in American society,” HBO Max said it would be “irresponsible” to continue showing it.
“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,” a spokesperson for HBO Max told CNN.
The spokesperson added that Gone with the Wind will likely be made available again at a later date, but it will be accompanied by a “discussion” about the consequences of its portrayal of slavery.
The movie will still be presented “as it was originally created,” though, “because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed.”
The movie, released in 1939, won 10 Academy Awards. Among them was best supporting actress Hattie McDaniel, who became the first black person to win an Academy Award for her portrayal of “Mammy,” a domestic servant.
HBO Max’s decision to pull the film comes amid heightened racial tensions, as thousands protest the death of George Floyd.
For the same reasons, Paramount Network also pulled one of its shows, Cops. The long-running reality show followed the on-duty lives of various law-enforcement officers from around the world, but was canceled this week over concerns that the show “glorified” police officers.
In a statement about Paramount’s decision not to renew Cops, civil rights group Colors of Change blasted the show as “a profit model” built “around distorted and dehumanizing portrayals of black Americans and the criminal justice system.”