‘Gone With the Wind’ Returns to HBO Max With Racial Warning

Vivien Leigh, Hattie McDaniel in 'Gone With the Wind' (1939). (Credi: Warner Bros. Pictures)

Earlier in June, HBO Max announced that it would remove Gone With the Wind from the streaming service as a result of its controversial racist depictions. Now, the film has officially returned to the platform, along with disclaimers that add historical context and address the racial stereotypes the movie portrays.

The new version of the award-winning film includes an introduction by Black film scholar Jacqueline Stewart, who is a professor of cinema and film studies at the University of Chicago. She describes Gone With the Wind as “one of most enduringly popular films of all time” and says that it portrays “the Antebellum South as a world of grace and beauty without acknowledging the brutalities of the system of chattel slavery upon which this world is based.”

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As Urban Hollywood 411 previously reported, a spokesperson for HBO Max confirmed the initial removal of the film for the same reasons, and denounced it for some of its racial depictions.

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,” the spokesperson said in a statement to the Hollywood Reporter. “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.”

In the four-and-a-half minute introduction on HBO Max ahead of the film, Stewart says “watching Gone With the Wind can be uncomfortable, even painful,” but that it’s still “important that classic Hollywood films are available to us in their original form for viewing and discussion.”
“It is not only a document of Hollywood’s racist practices of the past, but also an enduring work of popular culture that speaks directly to the racial inequalities that persist in media and society today,” she continued.
In addition to Stewart’s acknowledgement, HBO Max also added an hour-long panel discussion feature that can be played separately, titled “The complicated legacy of Gone With the Wind.”