HBO Max has removed Gone With The Wind from their streaming library due to its glorification of the antebellum south and lack of proper representation for people of color. Despite being one of the most-high profile and popular films of its time, the 1939 blockbuster adaptation has aged quite poorly, especially during the Black Lives Matter era. Gone with the Wind romanticized both the South and slavery during the Civil War, portraying slaves as happy and content while ignoring the inhumane hardships placed on African-Americans.
Regarding the removal, an HBO Max spokesperson told Deadline, “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. These depictions are certainly counter to WarnerMedia’s values, so 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. If we are to create a more just, equitable and inclusive future, we must first acknowledge and understand our history.”
The removal of Gone With the Wind is the first of many steps being taken by film industry to finally confront their racist tendencies, dating back to the Klan-glamorizing narrative of D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation.