The iconic 1939 film Gone with the Wind has been temporarily taken off the HBO Max streaming platform following complaints about its racist portrayal of black characters.
HBO Max said the film, which was set during and after the American Civil War, was “a product of its time” and depicted “ethnic and racial prejudices” that “were wrong then and are wrong today”.
A spokesperson told Deadline “we felt that to keep this title up without an explanation and a denouncement of those depictions would be irresponsible”.
It’s removal comes on the same day that Paramount Network pulled the reality series Cops following protests about the death of George Floyd.
BBC news reports: Based on the novel by Margaret Mitchell, it features slave characters who seem contented with their lot and who remain loyal to their former owners after slavery’s abolition.
Gone with the Wind received 10 Oscars and remains the highest-grossing movie of all time when its takings are adjusted for inflation.
Hattie McDaniel became the first black actress to be nominated for, and win, an Academy Award for her role as domestic servant Mammy.
Writing in the Los Angeles Times this week, screenwriter John Ridley said the film “glorifies the antebellum south” and perpetuated “painful stereotypes of people of colour”.
“The movie had the very best talents in Hollywood at that time working together to sentimentalise a history that never was,” continued the Oscar-winning screenwriter of 12 Years A Slave.
In a statement, HBO Max said it would be “irresponsible” to keep the film on its platform without “an explanation and a denouncement” of its “racist depictions”.
It said the film itself would return “as it was originally created”, saying “to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed”.
The wording of the statement is similar to advisories that accompany Tom and Jerry cartoons and other vintage animations on various streaming services.