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‘Gone With the Wind’ is back on HBO Max with a new disclaimer about slavery

HBO Max adds new videos to talk about slavery and the context of the film

Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh star in the 1939 movie “Gone With the Wind.”
Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh star in the 1939 movie “Gone With the Wind.”
Warner Home Video

“Gone With the Wind” has returned to HBO Max with a new disclaimer that warns the film “denies the horrors of slavery.”

What’s going on?

  • Earlier in June, HBO Max removed “Gone With the Wind” from its streaming service after criticism of the film’s racist depictions, which I wrote about for the Deseret News.
  • John Ridley — the Oscar-winning screenwriter for “12 Years a Slave” — penned an opinion piece for The Los Angeles Times in which he said “Gone With the Wind” was “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 (via The Verge): “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.”

What’s new?

  • “Gone With the Wind” returned to HBO Max this week with two new videos that talk about the historical context of the film, The Guardian reports.
  • One video shows film scholar Jacqueline Stewart talking about how the popular film was controversial during its release.
  • The second video includes an hourlong talk about the film’s complicated legacy.

A complicated legacy forever

  • Stewart said the film will continue to be controversial in the years to come, according to CNN.
  • “Watching ‘Gone With the Wind’ can be uncomfortable, even painful,” says Stewart. “Still, it is important that classic Hollywood films are available to us in their original form for viewing and discussion.”
  • “It is not only a document of Hollywood’s racist practices of the past, but also an enduring work of popular culture that speaks directly to the racial inequalities that persist in media and society today.”