Gone with the Wind returns to HBO Max with slavery warning

Vivien Leigh and Hattie McDaniel in Gone With the WindImage copyright
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Vivien Leigh and Hattie McDaniel won the Oscars for their work on the film.

Gone With The Wind has been reinstated by HBO Max, along with a disclaimer that it “denies the horrors of slavery.”

The 1939 film, set during and after the American Civil War, was removed by the broadcast site earlier this month.

HBO Max said at the time that it displayed “ethnic and racial bias” that “they were wrong then and they are wrong today.”

Now, he has returned online, also accompanied by two videos that discuss the film’s historical context.

One shows television presenter and film scholar Jacqueline Stewart observing how popular representation of black people was controversial even at launch.

‘Deeply concerned’

“Producer David O Selznick knew very well that black audiences were deeply concerned about the film’s handling of slavery and its treatment of black characters,” she says.

“The film’s treatment of this world through a nostalgic lens negates the horrors of slavery, as well as its legacies of racial inequality,” he added.

  • Gone With The Wind Removed From HBO Max
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The second video is an hour-long panel discussion discussing the “complicated legacy” of Gone with the Wind.

The widespread protests by Black Lives Matter, following the death of George Floyd, a black American, who died in the custody of a white police officer, have led broadcasters, producers, directors, and actors to quickly reevaluate what which is acceptable on our screens today,

A classic episode of British comedy Fawlty Towers was pulled from the UKTV broadcast service last month for the use of racial slurs, but there are plans to bring it back with a warning about “offensive language and content.”

Elsewhere, actress Jenny Slate announced Wednesday that she will no longer give a black character a voice in the animated series Big Mouth, as her role was “to participate in an act of erasing black people.”

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Jenny Slate has given up her role as Missy in the Netflix animated comedy Big Mouth.

Slate, who is white, had played Missy in the Netflix comedy, but the role will now be restructured.

“Black characters in an animated show should be played by black people,” he continued.

In a joint statement, Big Mouth creators Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg, Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett added: “We sincerely apologize and regret our original decision to choose a white actor to portray a biracial character.”

They confirmed that the role would be recast with a black actor.

‘Lack of awareness’

Frozen star Kristen Bell followed Slate’s lead soon after, revealing that she would no longer be lending her voice to a non-white character in the Apple TV + Central Park comedy.

Bell wrote on Instagram that playing Molly, a mixed-race character, “shows a lack of awareness of my penetrating [white] privilege”.

“Launching a mixed-race character with a white actress undermines the specificity of the mixed race and the African-American experience. It was a mistake, and we on the Central Park team are committed to doing it right,” he wrote.

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Kristen Bell acknowledged that playing Molly in Central Park was an “act of complicity.”

“I am happy to hand this role over to someone who can give a much more accurate picture, and I will commit to learning, growing, and doing my part for equality and inclusion.”

Bell and Slate are not the first actors to come to this conclusion, as in January Hank Azaria confirmed that he would no longer lend his voice to the Indian merchant Apu in The Simpsons.

Now, since Floyd’s death in May, the momentum for real change in film and television seems to have picked up pace. Another streaming site, Hulu, announced Wednesday that it removed three episodes of the American hospitality comedy Scrubs, which featured characters on blackface.

The move, confirmed by Variety, came at the request of show creator Bill Lawrence and ABC Studios. It also came days after several episodes of another American comedy, 30 Rock, were removed from streaming platforms for the same reason.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine star Terry Crews said this week that four new episodes of the police comedy were thrown “in the trash” as they sought to better represent the anti-racist movement in the future.

In the UK, Little Britain was removed from BBC iPlayer, Netflix and BritBox as objections reappeared on some of the characters in the sketch show, while Ant and Dec apologized for posing as “people of color.” on his Saturday Night Takeaway show.

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