Wednesday 10 June 2020 11:47 am

HBO pulls Gone With The Wind over ‘racist’ depiction of slave era

HBO has removed Gone With The Wind from its streaming platform over its “racist” depiction of the American south during slavery.

HBO Max, the broadcaster’s streaming service launched last month, announced that it has temporarily dropped the 1939 film. HBO said it would return the film to its platform at an unspecified date with a “discussion of its historical context”. 

“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,” the company said in a statement. 

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“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. 

The Hollywood classic, which received 10 Oscars including best actress for Vivien Leigh as the iconic Scarlet O’Hara, has long been the subject of attacks for its depiction of slavery.

Based on the 1936 novel of the same name by Margaret Mitchell, the film features slave characters who are content with their situation and remain loyal to their former owners after the abolition of slavery. 

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Hattie McDaniel became the first black actress to win an Academy Award for her role as servant Mammy in the film, which remains the highest-grossing movie of all time when adjusted for inflation. McDaniel, the daughter of two former slaves, played the role of maid 74 times during her career.

US President Donald Trump voiced his support for the film earlier this year when SOuth Korean film Parasite received the Academy Award for best picture. He tweeted: “The winner is… a movie from South Korea! What the hell was that all about? We got enough problems with South Korea with trade. Can we get ‘Gone With the Wind’ back, please?”

The decision by HBO comes amid escalating tensions in the US after weeks of riots following the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, by a US policeman. Floyd’s death has reignited the Black Lives Matter movement and sparked debate about racism across the globe.

BBC iPlayer, Britbox and Netflix yesterday removed British series Little Britain from their streaming platforms after viewers voiced their discomfort of white actors Matt Lucas and David Walliams’ use of makeup to portray different ethnic characters.

“Times have changed since Little Britain first aired so it is not currently available on BBC iPlayer,” a BBC spokesman said.

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