Vivien Leigh’s Gone With The Wind has made its way back to HBO Max but this time, the civil war epic is accompanied by a disclaimer which says that the film “denies the horrors of slavery”.
The film was initially removed from the streaming service earlier in June because of “racist depictions”.
The Guardian reported that John Ridley, Oscar-winning screenwriter of 12 Years A Slave, argued for it to be temporarily taken down due to its portrayal of the pre-war South, describing it in an article in the LA Times as “a film that, when it is not ignoring the horrors of slavery, pauses only to perpetuate some of the most painful stereotypes of people of color”.
HBO responded with a statement, which 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.”
The film has now returned to HBO Max, accompanied by two videos discussing its historical context.
In the first clip, TV host and film scholar Jacqueline Stewart, acknowledges that the film was “one of most enduringly popular films of all time” but notes its depiction of African American people was controversial even at release.
“Producer David O Selznick was well aware that black audiences were deeply concerned about the film’s handling of the topic of slavery and its treatment of black characters,” she told The Guardian.
The second video is an hour-long panel discussion debating Gone With the Wind‘s “complicated legacy”.