HBO Max Removes ‘Gone With the Wind’ Over Racist Depictions

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

Gone With the Wind has been pulled from streaming service HBO Max.

The 1939 classic film was removed from the catalog as a result of its controversial portrayal of African Americans and slavery in the Civil War-era South.

The renewed scrutiny of the film comes amid mass protests across the United States over the in-custody death of George Floyd, which has sparked conversations about racial injustice in America.

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In addition, an op-ed article this week in the Los Angeles Times, written by Oscar-winning screenwriter John Ridley (12 Years A Slave), called for the removal of Gone With the Wind from the platform for the way it “romanticizes the horrors of slavery.”

“It is a film that glorifies the antebellum South,” Ridley wrote in the piece. “It is a film that, when it is not ignoring the horrors of slavery, pauses only to perpetuate some of the most painful stereotypes of people of color.”

The film, which is set on a plantation in Atlanta, was deemed as problematic for celebrating slavery. A spokesperson for HBO Max confirmed the removal of the film and denounced it for some of its 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.”

When Gone With the Wind eventually returns to the streaming platform, the spokesperson added that it will include “a discussion of its historical context and a denouncement of those very depictions.”