ENTERTAINMENT
11/06/2020 11:54 AM AEST

Gone With The Wind Temporarily Pulled From HBO Max Due To Racist Depictions

The 1939 film will return to the streaming service, accompanied by a "discussion of its historical context".

Gone With The Wind has been temporarily pulled from the new streaming service HBO Max due to its racist depictions.

The film’s removal comes after Oscar-winning filmmaker John Ridley called for the movie to be taken off the platform.

The 12 Years A Slave screenwriter wrote in The Los Angeles Times that the film, “when it is not ignoring the horrors of slavery, pauses only to perpetuate some of the most painful stereotypes of people of colour”.

He said the film “continues to give cover to those who falsely claim that clinging to the iconography of the plantation era is a matter of ‘heritage, not hate’”.

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Vivien Leigh and Hattie McDaniel in Gone With The Wind

The 1939 film has long been considered racist because a lot of it takes place on a plantation and paints a glorified picture of slavery.

HBO Max has now confirmed that the film has been taken down, just two weeks after the streaming platform’s US launch – but will eventually return accompanied by a “discussion of its historical context” and a “denouncement of its racist depictions”.

A spokesperson for the service told Variety: “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.

“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.” 

They added: “If we are to create a more just, equitable and inclusive future, we must first acknowledge and understand our history.”

On social media, the move was met with a mixed reaction. Some were happy that a film with unchallenged racial stereotypes was being taken down, albeit not permanently.

Others pointed out that Hattie McDaniel’s Oscar-winning performance was an important moment in Black history, and said films like Gone With The Wind could be helpful in showing changing attitudes towards race.

Award-winning actor Jeffrey Wright said: “Not for nothing but I like to watch movies like Gone With The Wind to rememberer how stupid their politics were/are.”

Gone With The Wind won eight Oscars following its release, including one for Hattie McDaniel, who was the first Black actress or actor to ever win an Academy Award.

However, the actor was forbidden from sitting with her white co-stars during the Oscars ceremony, and was similarly not allowed to attend an after-party with her fellow stars.

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Hattie McDaniel posing with her Academy Award

Earlier this week, it was revealed BBC and Netflix made the decision to pull Little Britain – which frequently saw comedians David Walliams and Matt Lucas performing in blackface – from their streaming services.