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  • 'Gone With The Wind' has been criticized for its depictions of black people and for romanticizing the Confederacy.

    'Gone With The Wind' has been criticized for its depictions of black people and for romanticizing the Confederacy. | Photo: AFP

Published 10 June 2020
Opinion

Depiction of happy slaves and heroic slaveholders in the oscar-winning U.S. Civil War epic released in 1939 has garnered criticism.

U.S. Civil War epic ‘Gone with the Wind’ was removed Tuesday from the HBO Max streaming platform, as mass protests against racism and police brutality have been sweeping in the United States and the world.

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The multiple Oscar-winning film is based on a novel by Margaret Mitchell and takes place in the South of the U.S. during the country's civil war (1862-1865). It has been criticized for its depictions of black people and for romanticizing the Confederacy.

'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," an HBO Max spokesperson said in a statement to AFP.

"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 removal comes amid nationwide protests following the May 25 killing of Black U.S. citizen George Floyd by white Minneapolis officer. Demonstrations have broken out across the country since, with calls for police reform and the broader removal of symbols of a racist legacy, including monuments to the slave-holding Confederacy.

"12 Years A Slave" writer John Ridley said in a Los Angeles Times op-ed Monday that "Gone with the Wind" must be removed as it "doesn't just 'fall short' with regard to representation" but ignores the horrors of slavery and perpetuates "some of the most painful stereotypes of people of color."

The classic movie will return to the streaming platform at a later date, accompanied by a discussion on its historical context and legacy, the company said.

No edits will be made, "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."

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