Civil War drama Gone with the Wind has been temporarily removed from American streaming service HBO Max for featuring “racist depictions.”
Based on the novel of the same name by Margaret Mitchell, the four-hour epic stars Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara, charting her life and romances over the duration of the war.
Released in 1939, it went on to win Best Picture at the Oscars along with a slew of other awards, and remains the highest-grossing film of all time when adjusted for inflation.
However, Gone with the Wind has long been viewed as problematic, with 12 Years A Slave screenwriter John Ridley stating that it “romanticises” the racist Confederacy and “perpetuates painful stereotypes” of people of colour, in a column for Los Angeles Times.
The acclaimed filmmaker went on to request that the film be temporarily removed from HBO Max and returned to the platform with additional content giving a more “complete picture” of slavery and the Confederacy.
HBO Max appears to be taking this course of action, withdrawing the film from its service for the time being, but announcing that it will return with information to offer historical context.
An HBO spokesperson told RadioTimes.com: “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 news comes as protests against racial discrimination continue around the world, sparked by the unjust death of George Floyd and many others before him, which has prompted a closer inspection of the media we consume.
Yesterday, David Walliams and Matt Lucas sketch comedy Little Britain was removed from BBC iPlayer, Netflix and BritBox following criticism of the use of blackface throughout the programme.