It’s never a good time to watch a racist movie on a streaming platform, especially now, as the country is protesting against racism and calling to defund the police.
Still HBO Max, the famed cable network’s new streaming service was recently under fire for offering Gone with the Wind, NBC News reports. While some fans of the black-and-white Academy Award-winning film may see it as a nostalgic look at the Civil War, others see it for what it truly is: a film that downplayed the atrocities of slavery while celebrating the Confederacy.
Gone won 10 out of 13 awards during the 1940s Oscars, including one for Hattie McDaniel for Best Supporting Actress as she played Mammy opposite Vivien Leigh’s Scarlett O’Hara. The actress became the first Black person to ever win an Oscar, but she wasn’t even allowed to sit in the awards due to racism at the time.
On Tuesday, the platform announced that the 1939 film would be removed from HBO Max, but will eventually return “with a discussion of its historical context,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “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.”
A day before HBO Max decided to temporarily pull the plug on Gone, 12 Years a Slave screenwriter John Ridley, wrote an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, calling for the “Hollywood classic” to be removed from the lineup.
“The movie had the very best talents in Hollywood at that time working together to sentimentalize a history that never was,” Ridley wrote. “And it continues to give cover to those who falsely claim that clinging to the iconography of the plantation era is a matter of ‘heritage, not hate.’”
Given the country’s social unrest, Ridley, who won an Oscar for 12, asked for a respectful amount of time to pass before re-introducing Gone and to pair it with other films that provide a “complete picture of what slavery and the Confederacy truly were.”