The 1939 classic Gone With the Wind has been removed from HBO Max following an op-ed from 12 Years a Slave writer John Ridley who said it “romanticizes the horrors of slavery.”
Ridley said in his opinion piece for the Los Angeles Times that Gone With the Wind “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.”
Gone With the Wind–which takes place on a plantation in Atlanta–has been controversial for years, but new renewed attention came after the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed by a white police officer in Minnesota.
A spokesperson for HBO Max told Variety that Gone With the Wind will return to HBO Max with a content warning and a discussion about the historical context.
“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,” a spokesperson said. “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.”
It’s just the latest controversial Hollywood project to get the boot recently, as Paramount Network announced it was canceling Cops after 32 seasons.
Ridley won the 2014 Academy Award for Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay for 12 Years a Slave. The movie also won Best Picture, while Lupita Nyong’o won Best Actress in a Supporting Role. As for Gone With the Wind, it scored eight Academy Award wins, including Best Picture.