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10 Jun, 2020 04:13

Down the memory hole? HBO Max pulls ‘racist’ movie classic ‘Gone with the Wind,’ setting Twitter on fire

Down the memory hole? HBO Max pulls ‘racist’ movie classic ‘Gone with the Wind,’ setting Twitter on fire

HBO Max has abruptly deleted ‘Gone with the Wind,’ widely considered a classic in American cinema, after screenwriter John Ridley called for its immediate removal, arguing the film “romanticizes” slavery.

The 1939 film, set on a southern plantation in the aftermath of the Civil War, was removed from the HBO Max platform on Tuesday, with the company explaining that it depicts “ethnic and racial prejudices” which were “wrong then and are wrong today.”

“We felt that to keep this title up without an explanation and a denouncement of those depictions would be irresponsible,” HBO said in a statement, adding that the film would return to the platform, but with a “discussion of its historical context” and a “denouncement” of its controversial portrayals.

The move also comes on the heels of an op-ed in the LA Times penned by Ridley, a black screenwriter, who said the movie “glorifies the antebellum south” and ignores “the horrors of slavery.”

The decision has ignited an uproar on social media, with many critics pointing out the iconic film resulted in the first Academy Award for an African American actress, Hattie McDaniel. 

Some countered that McDaniel was treated poorly at the award ceremony, however, saying that robbed the event of its significance.

Though she died in 1952, McDaniel would have turned 127 on June 10, a fact some netizens said added insult to injury, arguing her work had not only been “erased for ‘woke’ points,” but just in time to “celebrate” her birthday.

Others made comparisons to Orwell’s '1984,' suggesting the film had been cast down the ‘Memory Hole’ – a device used to expunge uncomfortable truths from history, as if they never happened.

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