The streaming service HBO Max has decided to "temporarily" remove the classic Hollywood movie Gone With the Wind from its platform due to its racist depiction of black people.
Speaking to Variety a representative from HBO Max said:
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. 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.
These depictions are certainly counter to WarnerMedia’s values, so when we return the film to HBO Max, 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. If we are to create a more just, equitable and inclusive future, we must first acknowledge and understand our history.
The film, which was made in 1939, is set shortly after the end of the US civil war and largely takes place on a plantation in Atlanta, Georgia. Criticism and revisionist thinking of the film is nothing new and most focuses on the stereotypical characterisation of the house servant 'Mammy' who was portrayed by Hattie McDaniel, who became the first African American actor to win an acting Oscar.
In the wake of the current unrest across the globe and the Black Lives Matter movement, HBO's decision will have be welcomed by some. However, a predictable backlash has occurred mostly from conservatives who feel that HBO is censoring history and not respecting McDaniel's legacy.
One person who is bound to by upset by this, when he hears the news is Donald Trump, who back in February complained about the widely lauded South Korean movie Parasite being awarded the Best Picture prize at this year's Academy Awards.
According to the president, who admitted to having not seen Parasite, asked for movies like Gone With the Wind to make a return. He said:
By the way, how bad were the Academy Awards this year? Did you see them?
And the winner is ... a movie from South Korea. What the hell was that all about? We've got enough problems with South Korea with trade. On top of that they give them the best movie of the year? Was it good? I don't know.
You know I'm looking for, like, where .... Let's get Gone with the Wind? Can we get, like, Gone with the Wind back please? Sunset Boulevard...so many great movies.
The winner is ... from South Korea. I thought it was best foreign film, right? Best foreign movie! No, it was the ... did this ever happen before?
Still, if they are going to be that upset about it being pulled from HBO they could always just buy a copy on DVD or Blu-Ray.