HBO Max removed Civil War epic Gone With the Wind from its library on Tuesday amid the protests over George Floyd’s fatal arrest.
The film was removed due to its controversial depiction of black people and its positive view of slavery, according to HBO, but will eventually return to the platform along with a discussion of its historical context and a denouncement of its problematic and racist depictions.
HBO’s decision follows an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times by 12 Years A Slave screenwriter John Ridley that called for the film’s removal.
“It doesn’t just ‘fall short’ with regard to representation,” Ridley wrote. “It is a film that 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.”
An HBO spokesperson noted in a statement to Variety that the film was a product of its time and acknowledged that the racist depictions were wrong both then and now, noting that keeping the film in their library would be irresponsible.
“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,” the statement said. “If we are to create a more just, equitable and inclusive future, we must first acknowledge and understand our history.”
The film won eight Academy Awards, including best picture, best actress for Vivienne Leigh, best director for Victor Fleming and best supporting actress for Hattie McDaniel, the first black person to win an Oscar.
Have a tip we should know? firstname.lastname@example.org