- The recently-released streaming platform HBO Max removed “Gone with the Wind” from its library for depicting racial stereotypes and prejudices.
- The move came one day after “12 Years a Slave” screenwriter John Ridley asked the platform to temporarily remove the film and add historical context.
- HBO confirmed that the film will eventually return but with that added context that shows the film as a product of its time.
- Still, its removal stoked intense debate from those who called the move censorship and quoted George Orwell’s police state dystopian novel “1984.”
- Others called foul to that argument, saying that the film itself is a piece of propaganda that depicts a romanticized view of the fall of the South following the Civil War.
“Gone with the Wind” Removed From HBO Max
A slew of TV networks and streaming services announced changes on Tuesday as conversations about racism and injustice have soared since the killing George Floyd.
Paramount Network, for instance, canceled its show “Cops,” which has around 1,100 episodes and has been on the air since 1989. “Brooklyn 99” star Terry Crews said the show’s upcoming season will address topics like racism and police brutality. Netflix and the BBC have removed “Little Britain,” an early-aughts sketch comedy. A&E is evaluating whether or not to bring back “Live PD,” which is currently embroiled in its own scandal.
By far, the biggest debate, however, came after HBO Max removed a movie that is 80 years old: “Gone with the Wind.“
“‘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 spokesperson said on Tuesday. “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.”
HBO also said it plans to eventually bring the film back “with a discussion of its historical context” while denouncing its racial missteps.
The 1939 film starring Vivien Leigh and Clarke Gable is the highest grossing movie of all time when adjusted for inflation (Sorry, Endgame).
The move to pluck “Gone with the Wind,” a historical epic meant to depict Southern antebellum life during and directly following the Civil War, came one day after The Los Angeles Times published an op-ed from “12 Years a Slave” screenwriter John Ridley. In that op-ed, titled “Hey, HBO, ‘Gone With the Wind’ romanticizes the horrors of slavery. Take it off your platform for now,” Ridley criticizes the platform for not adding historical context before the film.
“As a filmmaker, I get that movies are often snapshots of moments in history,” Ridley said. “They reflect not only the attitudes and opinions of those involved in their creation, but also those of the prevailing culture. As such, even the most well-intentioned films can fall short in how they represent marginalized communities.”
“‘Gone With the Wind,’ however, is its own unique problem. It doesn’t just ‘fall short’ with regard to representation. It is a film that glorifies the antebellum south. It is 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.”
Ridley is likely referring to the slave character that actress Hattie McDaniel played. McDaniel, who became the first African American to win an Oscar after this film, is still largely remembered for the role; however, McDaniel’s portrayal is not one without a complex history.
While she undeniably made waves in the advancement of people of color to be recognized in film, her character has also been associated with perpetuating the stereotype that slaves were happy to serve their masters. In fact, she’s even referred to as “Mammy” throughout the film.
“Let me be real clear: I don’t believe in censorship,” Ridley said in his op-ed. “I don’t think “Gone With the Wind” should be relegated to a vault in Burbank.”
Ridley continued by asking HBO to re-introduce the film with other films that give more of a complete picture as to what slavery and the Confederacy were or pair the film “with conversations about narratives and why it’s important to have many voices sharing stories from different perspectives rather than merely those reinforcing the views of the prevailing culture.”
“Gone with the Wind” Removal Sparks “1984” Comparisons
HBO’s decision was met with a flood of mixed opinions, and on Wednesday, “Gone with the Wind” became a trending topic on Twitter.
“HBO removing Gone With The Wind is just another part of the left’s sinister plot to erase American culture,” Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk said. “Did you know—the first black American to win an Oscar was Hattie McDaniel for her role in Gone With The Wind? But the left doesn’t care. They just want to see it all burn.”
Many others invoked a quote from George Orwell’s “1984,” a dystopian novel depicting a police state that engages in revisionist history.
“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered,” the quote from Orwell’s novel reads. “And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”
Many others, however, called foul to the use of this quote, one person saying, “Ironically, Gone With The Wind is a great example of this. It became part of a bigger fictionalized narrative of the noble confederate and the southern belle, romanticized slavery, and erased the less flattering realities of the south.”
Ironically, Gone With The Wind is a great example of this. It became part of a bigger fictionalized narrative of the noble confederate and the southern belle, romanticized slavery, and erased the less flattering realities of the south. 💁♂️— Jon (@RealJonAndrews) June 10, 2020
A lot of good books on the Lost Cause.
Others criticized those trying to defend the movie by using Hattie McDaniel’s Academy Award win as an example.
“You don’t give a shit about Hattie McDaniel so don’t use her legacy to spew propaganda about gone with the wind. this wasn’t the only movie she was in,” one user said.
Even more deconstructed the notion that the movie was being censored and hidden to erase an ugly history by pointing out the fact that HBO is a private company shelving the film.
The Help Sparks Discussion After Hitting Netflix Top 10
Alongside the discussion of whether what HBO amounted to censorship, there has also been massive debate regarding movies that focus on black characters through the lens of white characters.
Those movies, known for their white savior tropes, typically depict white characters coming to the rescue of people of color in a feel-good way. They also tend to attract criticism for simplifying racial issues and taking agency away from minorities.
That discussion crescendoed after The Help spiked to number 1 on Netflix.
The movie stars Emma Stone, Viola Davis, and Octavia Spencer. In it, Stone plays an aspiring journalist who begins to document racism experienced by black maids in 1960’s Mississippi.
While, on the surface, that may sound like a recipe for success for those wishing to better educate themselves on black issues, Black Lives Matter advocates have argued that it’s more like Minny’s special pie: a load of crap.
“Not to say the film isn’t entertaining and may have other benefits, but if I were to pick one film that helps us understand where (black people) are today and what problems we face, that wouldn’t be the one I pick,” Darnell Hunt, director of UCLA’s Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies, told USA Today.
Even one of the movie’s stars, Bryce Dallas Howard, has urged viewers to watch something else if they want to learn about black history,
“The Help is a fictional story told through the perspective of a white character and was created by predominantly white storytellers,” she wrote on Facebook. “We can all go further.”
Others dug up an old interview where Viola Davis says she regrets starring in the movie.
“I just felt that at the end of the day that it wasn’t the voices of the maids that were heard,” she said in 2018. “They’re my grandma. They’re my mom. And I know that if you do a movie where the whole premise is, I want to know what it feels like to work for white people and to bring up children in 1963, I want to hear how you really feel about it. I never heard that in the course of the movie.”
Tuesday night, Netflix introduced a Black Lives Matter genre, which pops up when users go to their accounts. There, viewers can find a number of films and TV shows made by black people and about black people.
See what others are saying: (The Wall Street Journal) (CNN Business) (Entertainment Weekly)
Fire at Home Reportedly Owned by Beyoncé and Jay-Z Under Arson Investigation
Officials said there were no injuries or evacuations during the fire, which was put out in around two hours.
Fire Breaks Out at Famed Couple’s Reported Residence
A Wednesday fire at a historic home in New Orleans, Louisiana believed to be owned by music titans Beyoncé and Jay-Z is being investigated as a possible arson.
On Thursday, a New Orleans Police Department spokesperson confirmed to multiple outlets that it had received a tip about a suspicious person in the area. Further details about the suspicious person and the cause of the fire have not been revealed.
Neighbors told local media that there is an unlocked gate on the property that outsiders sometimes use to gain entry.
Officials told The New York Post that it took 22 firefighters over two hours to extinguish the blaze, with no reported injuries or evacuations. The extent of the damage currently remains unclear, but a spokesperson told The Post that given the age of the residence, the situation could have been far more severe.
“If [the firefighters] didn’t get there when they did, it could have been much worse,” the spokesperson said. “It’s a historic home.”
About the Home
The building was first built in the Garden District neighborhood of the city in the 1920s as a church. It was later used as a ballet school and then became a high-end residence in 2000. Realtor.com says it is currently valued at $3 million.
The home was purchased in 2015 by Sugarcane Parkin LLC. According to The Washington Post, this company has the same registered address as other entities owned by Beyoncé. Sugarcane Parkin is also allegedly managed by Beyoncé’s mother, Celestine Lawson, better known as Tina Knowles.
Representatives for the “Lemonade” singer and her husband have not issued any public statements about the incident, nor have they confirmed that the home is owned by the couple.
In March of this year, storage units in Los Angeles belonging to Beyonce were burglarized. According to TMZ, over a million dollars of goods were stolen, including expensive dresses and handbags.
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The New York Post) (NOLA)
Cleveland’s Baseball Team Changes Name From Indians to Guardians
The move marks the team’s first name change since 1915, and it comes after decades of criticism from Native Americans.
Name Change Announced
Cleveland’s Major League Baseball team said Friday that it will change its name after the 2021 season from the Indians to the Guardians.
The team announced the name change with a just over two-minute video narrated by actor Tom Hanks.
“You see, there’s always been a Cleveland — that’s the best part of our name,” Hanks says in the clip. “And now it’s time to unite as one family, one community, to build the next era for this team and this city.”
This marks the team’s first name change since 1915, and it comes after decades of criticism from Native Americans.
Despite long-running calls to change racist and offensive team names — including the Washington Redskins — such campaigns did not gain significant momentum until the nationwide racial reckoning that followed the murder of George Floyd.
Officials behind the Cleveland team first pledged to change the name last year and previously removed the “Chief Wahoo” logo, a caricature of a Native American character, from its uniforms following the 2018 season.
It toyed with several options before ultimately landing on Guardians, which draws from Cleveland’s architectural history.
“We are excited to usher in the next era of the deep history of baseball in Cleveland,” team owner and chairman Paul Dolan said in a news release.
“Cleveland has and always will be the most important part of our identity. Therefore, we wanted a name that strongly represents the pride, resiliency and loyalty of Clevelanders.”
“‘Guardians’ reflects those attributes that define us while drawing on the iconic Guardians of Traffic just outside the ballpark on the Hope Memorial Bridge. It brings to life the pride Clevelanders take in our city and the way we fight together for all who choose to be part of the Cleveland baseball family. While ‘Indians’ will always be a part of our history, our new name will help unify our fans and city as we are all Cleveland Guardians.”
Guardians will be the fifth name in franchise history, joining Blues (1901), Bronchos (1902), Naps (1903-14), and Indians (1915-2021).
Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Editor Slams Megyn Kelly for “Bullying” Naomi Osaka
Editor M.J. Day said Kelly’s attacks against Osaka are “part of the problem” when it comes to mental health discussions.
Megyn Kelly and Naomi Osaka’s Heated Twitter Exchange
The editor of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue slammed former TV news anchor Megyn Kelly Tuesday for mocking cover model and tennis star Naomi Osaka.
“It’s such bullying and it’s so unnecessary,” editor M.J. Day told People Magazine’s “Every Day” podcast. “And [Osaka] did nothing wrong.”
Osaka made history Monday by becoming the first Haitian and Japanese woman on the cover of the iconic issue. The athlete has been making headlines over the last few months for speaking openly and vulnerably about her mental health. In the spring, she said she was not going to participate in French Open press events because of the toll it takes on her as an introvert who has struggled with depression. She later withdrew from the tournament after that choice sparked backlash and likewise opted out of Wimbledon to take some “personal” time.
Some — conservative pundits, in particular — slammed Osaka for stepping back from these roles because of her mental health, but still opting to work on other projects, including the release of a Barbie doll, a Netflix docuseries, and a handful of magazine covers. Kelly joined that bandwagon, noting that Osaka has been featured in the likes of Vogue and TIME.
“Seeing as you’re a journalist I would’ve assumed you would take the time to research what the lead times are for magazines, if you did that you would’ve found out I shot all of my covers last year,” Osaka tweeted in response, though she later deleted the post.
“Instead your first reaction is to hop on here and spew negativity, do better Megan.”
M.J. Day Says Kelly is “Part of the Problem” With Mental Health Conversations
Kelly later tweeted that Osaka blocked her on Twitter, lashing out at the tennis champion for that decision as well.
People online have been largely defending Osaka and criticizing Kelly. Many argue that it is unfair for Kelly to attack a young woman who has been vocal about dealing with mental health issues; though it’s a practice the former Fox and NBC host has made a recent habit of, likewise attacking Meghan Markle and her husband Prince Harry.
Day said that remarks like Kelly’s are the reason it is so hard for people to have open and honest conversations about mental health.
“I’m like, ‘You know what, you’re journalists,’” Day added. “How about you do your job and you fact check instead of jumping all over this woman for attention, for ratings, for whatever it is that they’re doing? Which is, by the way, part of the problem. It’s part of the reason why mental health is such an issue.”
“How about we do our due diligence and make sure we know what the reality of a situation is before we come for people,” Day continued. “It broke my heart to see someone who is really living her life for the betterment of others while also trying to pursue her own passion.”
“Let her live. Let her make decisions for herself that protect her own wellbeing. It’s at no cost to anyone.”