'Gone With the Wind' Is Back on HBO Max With A Disclaimer
By Liz Calvario
Gone With the Wind has returned to HBO Max after it was pulled from the streaming service weeks ago. However, when viewers sit down to watch it, it now comes with a disclaimer that notes the film largely "denies the horrors of slavery."
In one of the clips, Jacqueline Stewart, host of Silent Sunday Nights on Turner Classic Movies and a professor in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago, talks about how the once-acclaimed 1939 Civil War drama should be "viewed in its original form, contextualized and discussed."
The second video is a one-hour panel discussion titled The Complicated Legacy of Gone With the Wind, from the April 2019 TCM Classic Film Festival moderated by author and historian Donald Bogle.
In an op-ed posted on CNN on June 13, Stewart explained why people "can't turn away" from Gone With the Wind.
"HBO Max will bring Gone with The Wind back to its line-up, and when it appears, I will provide an introduction placing the film in its multiple historical contexts," Stewart stated. "For me, this is an opportunity to think about what classic films can teach us. Right now, people are turning to movies for racial re-education, and the top-selling books on Amazon are about anti-racism and racial inequality. If people are really doing their homework, we may be poised to have our most informed, honest and productive national conversations yet about Black lives on screen and off."
Gone With the Wind -- which has long been revered by film critics and is the highest-grossing movie of all time when adjusting box office totals for inflation -- was decried in a high-profile op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, penned by 12 Years a Slave screenwriter John Ridley.
Ridley called on HBO Max to pull the film -- which tells the story of a tumultuous love affair between two wealthy Southern aristocrats and is set against the backdrop of the end of the Civil War and the destruction of the Confederacy. Ridley argued that the movie "doesn’t just 'fall short' with regard to representation. It is a film that glorifies the antebellum south."
Earlier this month, a spokesperson for HBO Max explained in a statement to ET that the film would eventually return to its streaming catalog, along with additional content that would contextualize the controversial historical depictions and elements of the story.
"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. 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 statement read.
"These depictions are certainly counter to WarnerMedia’s values, so when we return the film to HBO Max, it will return with a discussion of its historical context and a denouncement of those very depictions, but will be presented as it was originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed," the statement continued. "If we are to create a more just, equitable and inclusive future, we must first acknowledge and understand our history."
Following its removal from the platform, Megyn Kelly, Whoopi Goldberg and Meghan McCain, among others weighed in on the decision. Kelly took to Twitter to decry the streaming service's announcement as censorship of a "cultural touchstone."
Goldberg suggested to her The View co-hosts, including McCain, that the streaming service add a disclaimer before the film, alerting viewers to the context of the production.
Gone With the Wind is still currently available for online rental on Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, YouTube and more.