NEW YORK (AP) — HBO Max has temporarily removed “Gone With the Wind” from its streaming library in order to add historical context to the 1939 film long criticized for romanticizing slavery and the Civil War-era South.
In a statement obtained by The Associated Press, the AT&T-owned WarnerMedia, which owns HBO Max, called “Gone With the Wind” “a product of its time” that depicts racial prejudices.
“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,” said an HBO Max spokesman in a statement.
The company says when “Gone With the Wind” returns to HBO Max, it will include “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.”
WarnerMedia’s decision comes after filmmaker John Ridley wrote an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times urging the company to take the movie down. He argued that it “romanticizes the Confederacy in a way that continues to give legitimacy to the notion that the secessionist movement was something more, or better, or more noble than what it was — a bloody insurrection to maintain the ‘right’ to own, sell and buy human beings.”
Protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death have forced entertainment companies to grapple with the appropriateness of both current and past productions.
On Tuesday, the Paramount Network dropped the long-running reality series “Cops” after 33 seasons.
The BBC also removed episodes of “Little Britain,” a comedy series that featured a character in blackface, from its streaming service.