After the death of George Floyd and the recent uprising in the Black Lives Matter movement, HBO Max took down the 1939 classic film, Gone With The Wind, a romantic drama taking place during the American Civil War. Gone With The Wind has long been criticized for glorifying slavery and for the character of Mammy, played by Hattie McDaniel, whom many consider a condescending caricature of black women. HBO decided that during a time of racial tension such as the past few weeks, it would be best to shelve the controversial film to keep from appearing insensitive.
But now that some of the fervor has died down, HBO has decided to re-release the film on its streaming platform, HBO Max, with some caution. The HBO staff will be posting the film with a discussion about the film’s historical context and racist themes, so as to not alienate subscribers to the platform.
“We are being slow and careful and I think that’s the right response. It will be represented, but with context and framing,” said Sandra Dewey, president of business affairs and production for HBO Max. “No one wants to take [away] these pieces of content — and there are many of them — that have what would accurately be depicted as racial insensitivity. We feel that requires a framework in today’s discourse.”
Some may say that films such Gone With The Wind, films that seems regressive or even offense to a modern audience, should be erased from public access, and some may argue that it’s a part of our history and that it should be upheld as such. But the answer may be that we need to hold on to these pieces of our past and keep in mind when they come from, so that we can learn from our past how not to transgress again.