Nationwide protests adhering to the police death of George Floyd have prompted a reckoning in media over the ways race and policing are shown in popular culture. Together a result, part films and also TV shows that have actually controversially glorified police, like Cops and Live PD, or perpetuated racist stereotypes, favor the british sketch display Little Britain, have been canceled or removed from their platforms.

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In June, HBO Max gotten rid of the 1939 hit movie Gone through the Wind—which has long to be criticized for glorifying enslavement in the American South—from that catalog, promise to return it come the business in together with “a discussion of its historical context and a denouncement of” its racism depictions. The decision followed the publication of a Los Angeles julianum.nets op-ed by john Ridley, the screenwriter of 12 years A Slave, that dubbed for the film to it is in taken down from the organization or reintroduced later alongside more realistic cinematic depictions or paired through conversations that placed it into context.


“<Gone through the Wind> is a film that, when it is no ignoring the horrors that slavery, pauses only to perpetuate several of the many painful stereotypes of people of color,” Ridley wrote. “It is a movie that, as component of the narrative of the shed Cause, romanticizes the Confederacy in a way that continues to give legitimacy come the notion that the secessionist activity was something more, or better, or more noble than what the was—a bloody insurrection to maintain the ‘right’ come own, sell and buy person beings.”

The film went back to HBO Max ~ above June 24 through extra videos included to describe Gone v the Wind‘s historic context. Jacqueline Stewart, a professor in ~ the university Chicago’s cinema and also media researches department and also host the the “Silent Sunday Nights” ~ above Turner standard Movies, discusses in an introduce clip around how Gone with the Wind came to be “one that the most enduringly well-known films of every julianum.net,” regardless of its controversial history.

Gone through the Wind was no universally praised,” she says in the introduction. “The film has been repetitively protested, dating ago to the notice of its production. Native its prologue, the movie paints the picture of the Antebellum south as a romantic, idyllic setting that’s tragically been lost to the past.”

HBO Max has also included a video clip of panel discussion about the film’s complex legacy from the TCM standard Film Festival in 2019.

The film’s early removal indigenous the new streaming platform mirrors a decision by Disney+ not to do the 1946 film Song of the south available at all, and to put content warnings in prior of movies favor Dumbo. And also it has actually reignited a wider debate over censorship. However film historians and also critics who spoke come julianum.net speak the worry is more complex than merely censoring content. For one thing, Gone with the Wind is still easily accessible to rent and buy on other platforms, and also has no disappeared or to be taken under permanently. Nor need to it be, scholar contend. “Do i think it need to be unable to do forever? No. Ns teach Gone v the Wind,” says Kimberly Nichele Brown, an combine professor in ~ Virginia commonwealth University. “But i teach v a whole lesson plan around race and racism. Ns historicize these movies.” The inquiry Brown and also others attitude is, how will viewers communicate with a movie favor Gone v the Wind going forward?


“You can’t overlook the historical context,” says the movie critic and also pop culture writer ReBecca Theodore-Vachon. “Gone through the Wind focused a rich, privileged white woman and used enslavement as a backdrop. Let’s talk around real-life narratives of the survivors of enslavement who talked around the abuses they had actually to endure under these well-off white women.”

Theodore-Vachon states viewers should also consider exactly how racist tropes checked out in Gone v the Wind deserve to still be discovered onscreen today. Hattie McDaniel’s Oscar-winning function as Mammy, because that example, cemented the trope that a black color woman who exists only to more a white character’s story, which is solid extinct now. In current years, this trope has played out, to offer just one example, in black actresses playing therapists come white TV characters.

“That character has no life outside of her own,” Theodore-Vachon says. “You can not know her last name. Producers space checking turn off a diversity box in their heads—they use Black civilization as seasoning.”

These worries are perpetuated, in part, because of a absence of diversity and inclusion in all facets the filmmaking and also television, Theodore-Vachon says. A 2017 study evaluating the employee makeup the 234 scripted television shows uncovered that just 4.8% of all TV writers were Black. “When your writers room is really white and the manufacturing is really white, those Black personalities are usually in peril,” she says. “They’re in peril of gift marginalized or tokenized, because there’s nobody in the room advocating for them.”

Ridley’s observations about Gone through the Wind in the Los Angeles julianum.nets space not new, states Anna Everett, a film and media research studies professor in ~ UC Santa Barbara, who notes that several civilization spoke out against the film when it premiered in 1939. Everett points come the poet Melvin B. Tolson, who was amongst the Black movie critics to contact out the film’s racism at the moment of the release. Tolson composed in the Washington Tribune that it to be “more dangerous 보다 The Birth of a Nation” (the 1915 D.W. Griffith film that was so racist in the portrayal the Black people that the Ku Klux Klan experienced a violent resurgence).


Birth that a Nation was such a barefaced lie that a moron might see with it,” Tolson composed at the julianum.net. “Gone with the Wind is together a ethereal lie that it will be swallowed as reality by numerous whites and blacks alike.” That result is due, in part, come the way the movie addresses the polite War, Everett says.

“The Civil war comes on prefer a spontaneous combustion, through no conversation of the economic or social or political causes that led to the war,” she says. “How can a civilization be ‘gone with the wind’ uneven there to be something to do it go? The photo doesn’t present the reality and intends to develop sympathy for the white South. This is the historical context the HBO needs.”

The relocate to pull Gone v the Wind comes amid a broader awakening come systemic racism, which has actually led many to revisit movies around racism—though plenty of would argue not every one of these space the best choices. Last week, the 2011 film The Help—which has been extensively criticized for promoting a white savior narrative by centering top top a white female personality being served by Black residential workers—became the many watched movie on Netflix. Come Brown, this signals that deliberately or not, non-Black audiences space trying to learn around racism native movies that that sell entertainment and also catharsis rather than education. And after Gone Wind the Wind disappeared native HBO Max, Variety reported the the film cruised to the number-one clues on the best-seller sales list for TV and movies, suggesting, ~ above one hand, that the removed of the film motivated a newfound curiosity, and also on another, that world might want to bypass city hall the movie accompanied by commentary. But watching Gone v the Wind without a suitable understanding of the context, claims Brown, permits white audiences to assuage their very own guilt.

“People that are having actually anxiety around the protests are looking for nostalgic reminders the a racial context that they understand,” she says. “Something the is nice and compact and ties up gyeongju relations between Black people and white people in this quite neat bow.”


Ideally, a revived version the Gone v the Wind will incorporate a conversation that discusses why therefore many elements of the movie room racist and also historically inaccurate, indigenous the relenten of enslaved world seeming happy around being forced into labor to the implication that white women living ~ above plantations weren’t complicit in the exercise of slavery, says Theodore-Vachon.

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“Scarlett didn’t abuse she slaves, but she didn’t totally free them either,” she says. “She never looked in ~ Mammy and thought, ‘you require your freedom.’ There’s a many psychological trauma, physics trauma, yet Gone v the Wind didn’t resolve any of that.”

Furthermore, audiences need to start thinking much more about what type of TV and also film they select to watch, Theodore-Vachon says. Simply reeducating yourself about the reality of enslavement by watching and also reading conversation materials about Gone with the Wind is not enough.

“If friend genuinely desire to connect with America’s past and our present, I’d really difficulty people to look for out occupational actually coming from black filmmakers,” she says. “It’s essential to see Black people living their constant lives.” her comments suggest to a more comprehensive conversation about how, once it involves Black narratives, Hollywood tends to placed its money behind movies around suffering, from slavery to the Civil civil liberties movement, and also audiences support these options with their purchasing power. “It’s really around regaining autonomy and also humanity, and also Gone with the Wind walk not provide us that.”