Following a plea featured in the Los Angeles Times by 12 Years A Slave screenwriter John Ridley, HBO Max announced its decision to remove the 1939 love story Gone With The Wind from its platform for the time being.
In the June 8th op ed, Ridley asked the new platform to reconsider their choice of including the classic movie on the streaming service amid the Black Lives Matter movement. He argues against the film's portrayal of the post-abolition South by saying:
"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 goes on to argue that HBO Max should plan to reintroduce the film in the future along with more historically accurate films. He writes:
"Let me be real clear: I don't believe in censorship. I don't think "Gone With the Wind" should be relegated to a vault in Burbank. I would just ask, after a respectful amount of time has passed, that the film be re-introduced to the HBO Max platform along with other films that give a more broad-based and complete picture of what slavery and the Confederacy truly were. Or, perhaps it could be paired with conversations about narratives and why it's important to have many voices sharing stories from different perspectives rather than merely those reinforcing the views of the prevailing culture."
Following the publication of the article, HBO Max announced it would remove the film and return it in the future with proper historical context and discussions.
Gone With The Wind follows Scarlett O'Hara (Vivien Leigh) and her tangled love life living on her sprawling Southern plantation. It is based on the best-selling novel by Margaret Mitchell and has since become one of the highest grossing films in history with multiple Oscar wins. Hattie McDaniel became the first black actress to win Best Supporting Actress for portraying Mammy in the film. During the ceremony, McDaniel had to sit separate from her cast mates. The film has long been criticized for its portrayal of former slaves appearing loyal to their slave owners, thus suggesting a positive view of American slavery.
Fans of the movie can look forward to watching the movie on HBO Max in the future, while enjoying more historically accurate depiction of blackness in America in the meantime.