It was a case of here today, gone tomorrow when the 1939 film Gone with the Wind was pulled from HBO Max’s online catalog this week.
But the Oscar winner isn’t gone for good – it’s been removed temporarily while HBO considers how to place the movie in historical context.
The company released a statement today saying the film was being pulled temporarily due to its racist depictions of minorities that had become “commonplace” in American society.
HBO said the film would return with a full explanation of the “racist depictions [which] were wrong then and are wrong today.”
Here’s what you need to know about Gone with the Wind:
Frankly, My Dear, Twitter’s in a Flurry Over Scarlett’s Ousting
Twitter was abuzz today with conversation surrounding the movie, with emotions running the gamut, from those who “frankly just didn’t give a damn” – in the paraphrased words of the lead character, Rhett Butler – to the righteously indignant:
Erielle Davidson, policy advisor for U.S. House candidate Dan Crenshaw, called the move to pull the film an act of “insufferable wokeness.”
‘Gone With the Wind’ Has Been Criticized for its Depiction of Slavery
The film, set during the U.S. Civil War, is considered a crowning achievement of American cinema. It won eight academy awards, regularly makes the American film industry’s lists and is still one of the highest-grossing films of all time. But some in the media spotlight have taken issue with its “rose-tinted depiction of the antebellum South,” and have come forward urging HBO to take Gone with the Wind offscreen in the midst of tumultuous George Floyd protests and ongoing conversations about racism across the country.
The Oscar-winning writer for 12 Years a Slave John Ridley told the Los Angeles Times in an op-ed that the movie romanticized and minimized the impact of slavery.
Ridley wrote that while he didn’t want the movie “relegated to a vault in Burbank,” he felt the film should only be reintroduced after a “respectful amount of time has passed:”
It is a film that, as part of the narrative of the ‘Lost Cause,’ 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.
It Was the First Time in History an Oscar Was Awarded to a Black Female Actor
Hattie McDaniel’s Oscar nod for her performance as Mammy in Gone with the Wind was history-making: she was the first black person to receive the award.
On the evening she was presented with the gold statuette 80 years ago, McDaniel wasn’t even allowed to join her co-stars at the same table, and her very presence at the Ambassador Hotel’s Cocoanut Grove nightclub during the days of segregation had to be negotiated. McDaniel, who was disowned by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) for playing 74 maid roles, said she would rather play a maid than be a maid.
Her family told The Hollywood Reporter that McDaniel “was supposed to be subservient, but she never delivered a subservient line” throughout her career.
Black actress Mo’Nique, who would go on the win the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in Precious in 2010, paid tribute to McDaniel.
“That woman had to endure questions from the white community and the black community. But she said, “I’m an actress – and when you say, ‘Cut,’ I’m no longer that.”
‘Cops’ is Canceled During ‘Cancel Culture’
America’s longest-running reality show, Cops, was canceled days before its 33rd season renewal date of June 15.
The show had come under increasing scrutiny for its glorification of police and racial profiling, according to Slate.
Variety reported that the Paramount Network had “ceased production of the show permanently.”
ABC affiliate KABC called Cops the “latest victim of cancel culture,” while Twitter had its own perspective. Author and reporter Dr. Steven W. Thrasher called the move “cancel culture we can get behind.”
New York Times critic John O’Connor discussed the show’s depiction of America’s war on drugs:
The dominant image is hammered home again and again: the overwhelmingly white troops of police are the good guys; the bad guys are overwhelmingly black. Little is said about the ultimate sources of the drugs, and nothing is mentioned about Florida’s periodic scandals in which the police themselves are found to be trafficking in drugs.
Filmmaker Michael Moore parodied Cops in his 2002 documentary on the Columbine High School massacre, Bowling for Columbine, in which he proposed the show should be reconceptualized as a take on white-collar crime in America.
READ NEXT: Concrete Ice Cream at George Floyd Protests