Gone With The Wind[s]: HBO Pulls Classic After Floyd Protests

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It is considered one of the most influential (and certainly one of the most watched) films of all time.  However, HBO Max has pulled “Gone with the Wind” from its library of films because of its depiction of slavery and racism. HBO says that it will not allow people to watch the film until it can create “an explanation and a denouncement of those depictions.”  In other words, people will have to wait until they can be properly educated with the addition of a warning and introduction.  “After all”, as Scarlett O’Hara said in the film, “tomorrow is another day!”

This appears in response to John Ridley, who wrote the Academy Award-winning “12 Years a Slave,” In an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times this week Ridley asked HBO Max to remove the film because it “glorifies the antebellum south.”  Ridley insisted however “Let me be real clear: I don’t believe in censorship.” He then called for private censorship to prevent others from seeing the film.

Ridley says that allowing people to see the film, particularly without “a warning,” is unacceptable in these times. He notes that this may seem a big deal “But it’s not nearly as big a demand as when your children ask whether they can join protests in the streets against racial intolerance, or when they come to you wanting to know what you did to make the world a better place.”

I have no problem with the inclusion of discussions or introductions for such films so long as people have the ability to choose whether they want to watch such discussion. Indeed, I would personally be interested in watching such a discussion. The film does not disturbing imagery and messaging.  When we watched the film years ago, we discussed those issues with my kids.  However, pulling a film like “Gone With The Wind” until that time is troubling given the other moves that we are seeing around the world, as discussed below.

The question is whether removing art and literature “makes the world a better place” or just a quieter place.  Ridley is saying that, because he does not want to see the film anymore, he does not want anyone (even paying subscribers to HBO) to see the film. It is a too common approach today as advocates seek to silence others rather than voice their own views — or in Ridley’s case, make extraordinary movies in his own right.  These films are part of our history and culture, for better or worse.  Art often reflects prejudice or bias or even hate in ways both subtle and gross.  Censorship simply buries (selectively) the art that the majority deems objectionable.

HBO declared the film “a product of its time and depicts some of the ethnic and racial prejudices that have, unfortunately, been commonplace in American society.” That is correct. It is called a period piece.  It is part of our culture that exposes the best and worst of the times.  As is common in today’s environment, those who are critical of the film are not satisfied with writing opinion pieces in the L.A. Times but rather do not want to let others make up their own minds.

This approach to art would lead to the removal of a wide array of paintings, books, and films that depict periods of slavery or oppression.

Films are not the only things being pulled from public view. In London, various statues were defaced in anti-racism protests, including incongruously the statue of Abraham Lincoln.  London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he was setting up a Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm to remove statues and replace them for better “representation of people of color, black people, women, those from the LGBT community.”  First order is to remove statues and monuments of slave owners.  They might want to start with Hadrian’s Wall built by the Romans with slave labor.

This is not new to the United States.  For years, there have been demands to remove statues from Columbus to Jefferson. Previously, Angela Rye who is a regular analysis on NPR and CNN called for the Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial to be torn down, stating “To me, I don’t care if it’s a George Washington statue or Thomas Jefferson, they all need to come down.”

Back to HBO, there are a host of classic films that captures early and painful periods.  People like Ridley and the executives at HBO studied the film now want to stop others from doing so until they are ready.  As for all those who want to make up their own minds, HBO is channeling pure Rhett Butler and saying “Frankly darling, [we] don’t give a damn.”

51 thoughts on “Gone With The Wind[s]: HBO Pulls Classic After Floyd Protests”

  1. Public tells HBO: “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” HBO backs down on censorship.

    https://www.tmz.com/2020/06/10/hbo-max-will-bring-back-gone-with-the-wind-denounce-depictions/

    Before the pandemic, theater attendance was at a 19-year low. Big Five Movie Producers profits down 40% in five years including streaming revenue. Hollywood is losing $1 Billion a month in an industry usually grossing $10-20 Billion a year annually.

    Welcome to the Counter-Revolution!

  2. When you destroy all the proof of the slavery culture as practiced by the original Northern and Southern Democrat Party one buying and owning the other importing and selling you are guaranteed to repeat the mistakes of the past.. Except now they call it bipartisanship.

  3. The question is whether removing art and literature “makes the world a better place” or just a quieter place.

    The question is how is this principally different from the destruction of art, literature and monuments in other cultures throughout the world?

    There’s a reason the original text of the constitution remains and we alter it through the amendment process. It is instructive to see where we began. Cultural transformation is a process that the only way to know if we are going in the right direction is to (a) have a vision of where we want to get to (DoI) and (b) be able to track our progress (constitution). Additionally, it is equally important to preserve other areas of our transformation that are tragically being destroyed today.

    The FBI defines domestic terrorism as:

    (5) the term “domestic terrorism” means activities that—

    (A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;

    (B) appear to be intended—

    (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;

    (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or

    (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and

    (C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.

    How is what we’re witnessing today not by definition, domestic terrorism?

  4. I saw this film in 1955 with my brother and sisters. We told our mother about the burning of Atlanta, as if she had not seen it in 1939.Seeing it as an adult was …
    What is more than just interesting about Hollywood, and the Movies, is that Public Relations is its life blood. So the current legatees of this property, must insure that appearing to be on the ‘right side of history’ is just another way of insuring the cultural/political/economic viability of their property.So, until things quiet down, a strategic withdrawal seem to be the politic action. Call it a prudent action in economic terms,after all in the collapsing Neo-Liberal Age, the Market and its imperatives are sovereign.

    StephenKMackSD

  5. I wonder if any of the corporate executives who are falling all over themselves to pander to the BLM crew could name any one of the African-Amer8cans killed or wounded over the Memorial Day weekend in Chicago. The same goes for the congressional shawl-wearing kneelers.

  6. Liberals are bad people in just about any venue. The ones who aren’t are over 70 or dead.

    1. No, they are criminals, rioters anarchists. They forgot that Abraham Lincoln is the one who freed the slaves!
      The want to erase the American history / culture😠😠😠

  7. Neither GWTW – book or movie – glorifies slavery or the ‘Old South’. The male protagonists, Ashley Wilkes and Rhett Butler, both articulate the stupidity of secession, as well as the coming demise of the plantation system – as does Scarlett O’Hara, who scorns not only the war, but ‘The Cause’. There are certainly any number of stereotypical southerners among the characters, but I wouldn’t include the slaves among them. In fact, it’s pretty clear they are the characters with real agency, and are the moral voices of both narratives. The white characters who ‘survive’ do so only because of the support provided by their former slaves. This is especially clear in the book. Margaret Mitchell grew up hearing, first hand, the stories told by her parents’ and grand-parents’ generations who lived through the events portrayed in the book.

  8. Irish media have also picked up on this. Recommend they mind their own business. Start renaming the hundreds off streets named after English occupiers!
    You cannot erase history or like the Soviet Union you can photoshop individuals and remove them.

  9. Has anyone noticed the caution JT is taking on these hot-button issue? He no longer expresses his long-standing options but is falling into line with the PC crowd. What will happen when there are no more voices to speak?

    1. That’s because it is clear the totalitarians are taking over and they respect nothing and nobody and they are dangerpus.

  10. Aside from a few voices in Congress and President Trump, the silence of our elected officials is proof positive that they have no regard for the values of this country, they only want power. The silly little morons at HBO have decided that GWTW must be hidden away because it might cause us to think favorably about slavery. What??? When was the last time that any American thought positively about slavery? I guess we need to get ready for these anti-American sympathizers to start burning all of Mark Twain’s writings. And what about the Bible? Paul says that slaves should obey their masters. (Ephesians 6:5). Let’s burn them all. As expected, democrats and the media are trying to parlay this incredibly anti-American behavior into electoral advantage. The children who now run HBO, NASCAR, the NFL and other American businesses are goose stepping their way down the path toward a totalitarian society and are too stupid to realize that after they elect Joe Biden and take control of the House and Senate, they will be thrown on the trash pile because even democrats know how worthless they are.

    1. Honest, the values of this country include the freedom of businesses to decide what they want to provide – and by extension endorse as decent and worthwhile – and what they don’t. HBO has been exercising this discretion since their inception and so do all businesses. Good. Write then a letter or cancel your subscription and maybe they’ll change their mind.

      1. I agree that a private business should have the right to decide what they want to sell and what they want to endorse. But I, as a consumer, have an equal right to speak out against a business that has adopted an anti-American burn-the-books business model. Obviously, the Leftists who are applauding HBO’s decision to remove GWTW don’t subscribe to the freedom of businesses to decide what they “endorse as decent and worthwhile.” Remember Chick-fil-A and Hobby Lobby? Leftists did all they could to destroy those businesses and the City of San Antonio barred Chick-fil-A from setting up a franchise in the city’s airport. Little did they know that in spite of their efforts and other Leftists, Chick-fil-A is now the second most popular fast food chain, behind McDonalds. What I hope you and others will keep in mind is that as soon as the democrats have used this “cause” to gain the White House and Senate, it (and you) will be discarded even faster than HBO got rid of this movie classic.

        1. Honest, putting aside your unfounded partisan claim to end your post – nothing about today’s GOP indicates a higher moral standard or absence of purely political calculations – but what you describe is what should happen in a free market democracy.

          Personally, as a business owner myself, I do not like making business choices on a partisan basis , though that is our right. Free markets will be more fair and communities less contentious if we don’t care what party the best shoe store owner or concrete finisher belongs to. In my field, if I even know this, it has nothing to do with my relations – all personally good – with the subcontractors I hire and I keep it out of my dealings with clients – unless one of us senses agreement and we go on to talk. Some of my best friends in the business, who I admire as humans, are Republicans. That’s OK. So was my now deceased mother who is still – with my also deceased Democrat sister – one of two personal heroes for moral and ethical behavior. And she loved me! Can you imagine?

  11. “Censorship simply buries (selectively) the art that the majority deems objectionable.”

    Does it really? What majority was asking for this film to be removed? Seems to me, it is more about a minority forcing their views on the majority.

  12. And who is surprised by this? It was the next step of a long path that we seem not interested in stopping.

  13. We know where they are taking us if we let them.

    Up to us to stop them at the ballot box.

    Also Turley is too kind. Mr. Ridley is a racist tyrant willing to trample individual rights.

  14. We may agree or disagree with HBOs actions on this particular film but it is not a public utility, it is not a film library with some obligation to provide access to every film ever made, including popular ones, and it already practiced discretion in what it chose to provide it’s subscribers. Given that existing discretion, no new principle is established by this act. The company is merely deciding that they no longer want to imply any stamp of approval for the film’s content, and it remains available through other sources for those who wish to view it. There is no significant issue in this act.

    1. @book. No significant issue? There is no level of ridicule I could heap on you that could properly frame such an idiotic remark.

    2. You are factually correct but as a societal move it is indicative of a growing intolerance and a vast move away from our founding principles.

  15. The next step: to remove from all libraries “Gone with the Wind” books and burn them at BLM Plaza?
    It’s unstoppable craziness already. Is there anybody who could stop it?

    1. Perhaps you might recall an offhand comment the president made while campaigning… Something about the Second Amendment people

      1. Another somewhat regular poster here expresses his inability or unwillingness to live in a democracy. And these are the “patriots”?

    2. Someone at NPR urges that our bookshelves be decolonized. Remove all white authors. There will be a lot of room for your crystal and little statue collection, maybe even a couple of books.

    1. Liberty2nd – did you see that video where they pulled down a statue and it fell on a protester/rioter?

    2. These monuments must have plaques placed next to them carrying that other part of history, that Washington and his colleagues were not the oppressed underclass; there was no oppressed underclass. They simply wanted to run the show: collect the taxes, make money, etc. Hancock outfitted British ships to transport the Acadians out of the Maritimes to Louisiana and the Caribbean. He made hay when the sun shone, regardless of who was in charge. He saw the writing on the wall and added his ‘John Hancock’ to the new order. The American Revolution was nothing like the French Revolution where the people who were manipulated by the rising ‘Age of Reason’ types were indeed downtrodden and wretched. The French administration under the aristocrats made sure that table wine and tobacco were plentiful and cheap. This numbed the pains of hunger and deprivation.

      In the US with its baggage of hubris social evolution is curtailed by adhering to the mythology of the past. History can be perverted easily through omission alone. Perhaps if Washington, Jefferson, and the rest were presented with the whole story, themselves, their times, and how they made their choices, more Americans would see that progressive is not a dirty word and understand that simply because something has been around for a long time doesn’t make it right. The statues represent history. They should include the truth of that history. George Washington was a courageous man who fought for the British against the French and then against the British in order to continue on his life’s journey. He kept slaves and decided with others to keep slaves rather than lose the contributions of slave related income. It was a board room decision. It was a necessary evil, nothing to be proud of. It was, however, evil and America is still trying to recover from the chaos. Progress is a good thing. Progress, however, often means realizing that the status quo is wrong.

      If a people in a certain city want to keep statues of Southern soldiers then these monuments should include descriptions of what they indeed fought and killed for. Call a spade a spade.

      1. They fought for the right to secede from the United States. Much the same as anarchists in Seattle wish to do their own thing. Or, the secessionists in California.

  16. GWTW has become a huge DVD seller on Amazon. I already have my copy. I learned after George Lucus retroed Star Wars. BTW, I have an original copy of that and Han shot first. 😉

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