Gone with the Wind has been taken off HBO Max following calls for it to be removed from the US streaming service. HBO Max said the 1939 film was “a product of its time” and depicted “ethnic and racial prejudices” that “were wrong then and are wrong today”. It said the film would return to the platform at an unspecified date with a “discussion of its historical context”. Set during and after the American Civil War, Gone with the Wind has long been attacked for its depiction of slavery. Based on the novel by Margaret Mitchell, it features slave characters who seem contented with their lot and who remain loyal to their former owners after slavery’s abolition. Gone with the Wind received 10 Oscars and remains the highest-grossing movie of all time when its takings are adjusted for inflation.
Writing in the Los Angeles Times this week, screenwriter John Ridley said the film “glorifies the antebellum south” and perpetuated “painful stereotypes of people of colour. The movie had the very best talents in Hollywood at that time working together to sentimentalise a history that never was,” continued the Oscar-winning screenwriter of 12 Years A Slave. In a statement, HBO Max said it would be “irresponsible” to keep the film on its platform without “an explanation and a denouncement” of its “racist depictions”. It said the film itself would return “as it was originally created”, saying “to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed”. The wording of the statement is similar to advisories that accompany Tom and Jerry cartoons and other vintage animations on various streaming services.
Hattie McDaniel became the first black actress to be nominated for, and win, an Academy Award for her role as domestic servant Mammy. Some may celebrate this but immigrants on iMiMatch had already seen in this some sought of master’s recognition to it’s slave because the film in itself had a lot of practices that hurt blacks. Still, for immigrants on iMiMatch, the mass protests against racism and police brutality that are prompting several television networks to reassess their offerings is already a huge path to victory. Immigrants on iMiMatch themselves are not sitting quiet. Those who are not going out to protest are taking to social media to lampoon and debunk racism.