HBO Max has removed from its catalogue Gone With the Wind, the 1939 movie long considered a triumph of American cinema but one that romanticises the Civil War-era South while glossing over its racial sins.
The streaming service pledged to eventually bring the film back “with a discussion of its historical context” while denouncing its racial missteps, a spokesperson said.
Set on a plantation and in Atlanta, the film won multiple Academy Awards, including best picture, and remains among the most celebrated movies in cinematic history. But its rose-tinted depiction of the antebellum South and its blindness to the horrors of slavery have long been criticised, and that scrutiny was renewed this week as protests over police brutality and the death of George Floyd continued to pull the United States into a wide-ranging conversation about race.
“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. “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.”