When Game of Thrones creators Daniel Benioff and D.B. Weiss (pictured above) announced that they were working on a new show for HBO earlier this month, there’s a huge chance that they weren’t expecting the backlash to be so negative. Entitled Confederate, the show — which is still in the development stage — will be an alternate history series that includes dramatizations of modern-day slavery with a sci-fi spin. Sound a bit odd? Well, you’re not the only one who may think so.
April Reign, who is responsible for creating the #OscarsSoWhite movement, took to her Twitter account on July 28 to announce that she and four other women would have #NoConfederate trending on Sunday, July 31 at 9 p.m. during both the East and West Coast broadcast of HBO’s Game of Thrones. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times about the protest, Reign stated, “We want to show HBO the power of social media of those who are against this show, and demonstrate that there is a unified voice against Confederate.”
Stressing that the protest was not a boycott of the channel itself, as HBO also airs the Issa Rae comedy Insecure, she added in, “Our objective is for HBO to cancel this idea and spend no more money on it.”
The protest brought out many feelings and viewpoints from other Twitter users supporting the cause. Activist Bree Newsome, who received nationwide support when she scaled the flagpole at South Carolina’s statehouse ground to take down the Confederate flag, was one of many to show the importance of the #NoConfederate boycott through a slew of tweets.
So @HBO having an opportunity to do a new fantasy-genre show & choosing to have white creators imagine Blacks enslaved in 2017 is a problem
Though the backlash prior to the protest for Confederate should have been a concern for both HBO and those who helmed the series, that didn’t stop husband and wife writer-producers Malcolm Spellman (Empire) and Nichelle Tramble Spellman (The Good Wife), who are both Black, from joining the creative team for the controversial show.
Standing behind he and his wife’s decision to be a part of the show, Malcom revealed that there was a sense of urgency and a “duty to force” the conversation about race in America. Nichelle, who says that she understands the concerns that are arising on the volatile subject, noted that she wishes everyone would reserve their judgment until after they’ve seen the show.
President of HBO programming, Casey Bloys, echoed Nichelle’s sentiment saying, “My hope is people will judge the actual material instead of what it could be or should be or might be.” Reign, however, felt that Bloys’ statement didn’t offer the defense that was needed. “Wait and see is what we were told about the Trump administration.”
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time that the GOT creators have received backlash from the Black community. The duo previously received criticism due to their negligence with including people of color in roles both behind and in front of the camera on the show.
On Sunday #NoConfederate trended in the top spot nationwide and second worldwide.