Hollywood epic Gone with the Wind has been temporarily removed from streaming service HBO Max due to its depiction of “ethnic and racial prejudices”.
The historical romance drama is set in the American South and follows a couple, played by Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh, who embark on a turbulent romance during the Civil War and Reconstruction era. The film was a critical and commercial success upon its release in 1939 and remains the highest-grossing movie of all-time, when adjusted for inflation.
On Monday, 12 Years a Slave screenwriter John Ridley called for the movie to be removed from HBO Max, which launched in May, as it “glorifies the antebellum south”, ignores the “horrors of slavery”, and perpetuates “some of the most painful stereotypes of people of colour”.
In response, an HBO Max spokesperson announced Gone with the Wind would be temporarily removed from the streaming service.
“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,” the statement reads, according to Deadline. “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 eight competitive Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actress for Hattie McDaniel, who became the first African-American to ever win an Academy Award.
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