HBO Max removes Gone With The Wind after racism protests

HBO Max removes Gone With The Wind after racism protests

It ignores the horrors of slavery and perpetuates "painful stereotypes of people of colour," says writer John Ridley
10 Jun, 2020

Gone with the Wind was removed from the HBO Max streaming platform Tuesday, as mass protests against racism and police brutality prompt television networks to reassess their offerings.

The multiple Oscar-winning US Civil War epic released in 1939 remains the highest-grossing movie of all time adjusted for inflation, but its depiction of contented slaves and heroic slaveholders has garnered criticism.

"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," an HBO Max spokesperson said in a statement to AFP.

"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."

Demonstrations have swept the United States since the May 25 killing of African American George Floyd while in police custody, with calls growing for police reform and the broader removal of symbols of a racist legacy, including monuments to the slave-holding Confederacy.

Floyd died last month as a white Minneapolis officer pressed a knee into his neck for almost nine minutes. The officer has been charged with second-degree murder.

12 Years A Slave writer John Ridley said in a Los Angeles Times op-ed Monday that Gone with the Wind must be removed as it "doesn't just 'fall short' with regard to representation" but ignores the horrors of slavery and perpetuates "some of the most painful stereotypes of people of color."

The film will return to the recently launched streaming platform at a later date, along with a discussion of its historical context, the company said.

No edits will be made, "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."

Meanwhile Tuesday, long-running reality series Cops was canceled by Paramount Network.

The show followed real-life US officers on duty for over three decades, but had been accused of glamorizing aspects of policing and distorting issues such as race.

"'Cops is not on the Paramount Network and we don't have any current or future plans for it to return," a network spokesperson told US media Tuesday.

Police shows, both reality and scripted, are among the most-watched on US television but have come under scrutiny.

Civil rights group Color of Change, which campaigned against the show for its depiction of suspects and alleged masking of racism in police forces, welcomed the news Tuesday.

"For 30 years, #COPS has normalized injustice and misrepresented crime, policing and race," tweeted president Rashad Robinson.

"But it's far from the only crime TV show to do so."

Dan Taberski, whose podcast Running from Cops claimed the show allowed police to remove unflattering material during editing, said he was "hopeful its cancellation 31 years later is a sign of positive change to come."

Popular reality cop show Live PD has also been removed from schedules, while Jessica Alba-starring scripted procedural LA's Finest saw its season premiere delayed Monday.


Saif Zulfiqar Jun 10, 2020 11:57am
There are hundreds of movies from Hollywood which are full of recisims.
Bushra Peerni Jun 10, 2020 12:01pm
This is taking it too far.
G H A L I B J E E E Jun 10, 2020 12:52pm
Crazy times we live in .....
Tajammal Jun 10, 2020 01:23pm
I have seen this film in 1975, Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh were in the lead.
Wajahat Jun 10, 2020 01:25pm
These movies and other artworks should not be removed but kept with a reminder of " Never again".
Alam Khan Jun 10, 2020 03:10pm
Suppressing history and sugar coating will not change what people suffered through.
Ahsan Gul Jun 10, 2020 07:18pm
Movie with the true representation of racial conditions of the past must not have been removed. How else the current generation will learn about the past? Do we have not same but close to it color conscious hate and discrimination in Pakistan? Do we think darker skin people less than the fair skin in Pakistan? Sincerely
Omar Jun 10, 2020 09:29pm
Extreme and overblown reaction.
TZaman Jun 10, 2020 11:41pm
Gone with the Wind, is history. Well made movie, with storyline from mid 19th century. It shows people were crude, uncivilized at that time. The HBO can add link to actual slavery drama.