- 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)
“Borat” Sequel Reportedly Catches Rudy Giuliani in Compromising Situation, But Giuliani Says It’s “Doctored”
- President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, was caught in a compromising situation after stills from a mock-interview in Sacha Baron Cohen‘s upcoming “Borat” sequel showed Giuliani laying down with his hands in his pants in front of a fake reporter.
- That fake reporter, Maria Bakalova, was in character as Borat’s 15-year-old daughter. In real life, Bakalova is 24.
- It has been reported that Giuliani did not know this context until just before he left the scene. Giuliani has also denied that he engaged in any appropriate sexual activity, saying he was tucking his shirt after having his mic removed.
Alleged Details About the Rudy Giuliani Interview in “Borat”
Drinking, agreeing to eat a bat, and sticking his hand in his pants — that’s all part of a strange fake interview between Rudy Giuliani and “Borat” actress Maria Bakalova.
The interview was filmed against Giuliani’s knowledge for “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” which will be released on Amazon Prime Friday. In it, Giuliani can be seen entering a hotel suite with Bakalova, who is in character as Borat’s 15-year-old daughter.
The film, starring Sacha Baron Cohen as Borat, includes other notable pranks, such as one that involves crashing the Conservative Political Action Conference to catch Vice President Mike Pence off guard; however, that might not come as much of a surprise to many considering how Cohen is known to have pulled similar antics in the past.
During the interview with Giuliani, Bakalova — who is 24-years-old in real-life — poses as a reporter for a conservative news show.
Near the beginning of the interview, hidden cameras reportedly capture Giuliani taking off a mask he was wearing. Throughout the interview, reports also indicate that he coughs and repeatedly touches Bakalova.
At one point, Bakalova, in character, says she’s nervous. Giuliani grabs her hands and reportedly tells her, “You’re going to do great.”
Bakalova’s character then brings up the coronavirus pandemic, asking what needs to be done so a similar pandemic doesn’t happen in the future. Giuliani reportedly responds by shifting blame to China, alleging (without evidence) that the country “manufactured” the virus and deliberately spread it around the world.
“I don’t think anyone was eating bats,” he reportedly said.
Bakalova’s character then responded, “If you eat a bat with me, I would.”
“OK, I’ll eat a bat with you,” Giuliani said.
Because the footage of the interview has yet to be released publicly, it is unclear whether Giuliani is possibly joking.
From there, the interview continues. According to INSIDER, in one shot, the two sip what appears to be scotch.
After a subsequent interruption from a disguised Borat, Bakalova asks if they can move the interview into the bedroom. Giuliani agrees, reportedly telling her at one point, “You can give me your phone number and your address,” before appearing to tap her on the small of her back a few times.
Giuliani proceeds to sit on a bed, and Bakalova’s character appears to remove his mic.
The film then cuts to Giuliani laying on the bed, where he can be seen putting his hand in his pants.
At that point, Cohen — still playing Borat — jumps into the room in pink lingerie and tells Giuliani that “Bakalova” is 15-years-old before pleading for Giuliani to take him instead of her.
Giuliani then reportedly tells him, “I don’t want you,” and leaves the suite.
Giuliani Denies Allegations of Inappropriate Behavior
With the release of the stills, Giuliani’s moment on the bed has drawn widespread condemnation and scrutiny. Many online have asked why Giuliani seemed to be putting his hands down his pants when he was in the same room as a person he could have believed was 15.
However, according to NBC News, in the context of the film, Giuliani had no reason to believe that Bakalova was 15 — at least not until Cohen jumped in and shouted it at the end.
By Wednesday afternoon, Giuliani attempted to dispel the rumors that he possibly engaged in some sort of inappropriate sexual situation with a minor.
“The Borat video is a complete fabrication,” he said in a Twitter thread. “I was tucking in my shirt after taking off the recording equipment. At no time before, during, or after the interview was I ever inappropriate. If Sacha Baron Cohen implies otherwise, he is a stone-cold liar.”
Giuliani then referred back to a Hollywood Reporter article from July 8 that confirmed he’d called the police after being pranked on camera by Cohen.
In fact, it does seem to be the case that this interview was recorded in July because around the same time, Giuliani told PageSix, “This guy comes running in, wearing a crazy, what I would say was a pink transgender outfit.
“It was a pink bikini, with lace, underneath a translucent mesh top, it looked absurd. He had the beard, bare legs, and wasn’t what I would call distractingly attractive.”
In his Twitter thread, Giuliani went on to call the release of the images a deflection against the recent leak involving Hunter Biden’s supposed emails.
“This is an effort to blunt my relentless exposure of the criminality and depravity of Joe Biden and his entire family,” Giuliani said. “We are preparing much bigger dumps off of the hard drive from hell, of which Joe Biden will be unable to defend or hide from. I have the receipts.”
Along with Giuliani, a number of other conservatives have jumped to his defense, with many also accusing Amazon, Twitter, and the news media of deflecting against the Hunter Biden story.
Celebs Question Giuliani’s Motives During Interview
Nonetheless, many — including a number of celebrities — have continued to question Giuliani’s motives with Bakalova during the fake interview.
“So you normally drink with reporters, follow them to the bedroom and then lie on the bed and let her take off your mic for you?” singer Demi Lovato said. “I guess I’ve been doin my interviews all wrong…”
On “The Late Show,” host Stephen Colbert said, “I watched the footage. Why did you go into a bedroom at the suggestion of a young woman to have cocktails to take off a mic? I take off a mic every night. Never once have I reclined on a kingsize bed and then launched a fact-finding mission to my own groin.”
See what others are saying: (INSIDER) (The New York Times) (The Guardian)
Marvel Stars Slammed for Defending Chris Pratt But Not Women or Actors of Color
- Twitter users have dubbed actor Chris Pratt their least favorite Chris in Hollywood, with many doing so because they believe he supports President Donald Trump or is at least a conservative.
- Some critics said that he attends an anti-LGBTQ church, follows right-wing figures on social media, and did not join his Marvel castmates in a fundraiser for Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, among other controversies.
- However, Pratt has never explicitly shown support for Trump and has previously said he doesn’t feel represented by either of the major political parties.
- Marvel figures like Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr, Zoe Saldana, and James Gunn each expressed support for Pratt online. That then prompted backlash from fans who asked why similar support was not shown to women and people of color like Brie Larson, Zendaya, Anthony Mackie, and others who faced sexist or racist harassment online after joining the MCU.
Internet Picks Their Least Favorite Chris in Hollywood
Members of the Marvel Cinematic Universe are facing backlash for how quickly they jumped to defend actor Chris Pratt after internet users dubbed him Hollywood’s worst Chris.
Pratt’s name has trended on Twitter several times since Saturday when one user asked people to pick a famous Chris to get rid of and many selected him.
While some admittedly just don’t like his acting, many actually chose him because they believe he’s a supporter of President Donald Trump.
Is He Actually a Trump Supporter?
However, his political views are not exactly clear, though many believe that he is at the very least a conservative.
Several people pointed out that he was notably not on the list of Avengers stars who hosted a virtual fundraiser to support Joe Biden. That event featured the likes of Don Cheadle, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Paul Rudd, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr, and Zoe Saldana.
Other people said Pratt supports an anti-LGBTQ church.
That claim actually picked up last year when actress Ellen Page famously accused Hillsong Church in Los Angeles of being anti-LGBTQ.
The backlash later prompted Pratt to call the claim “absolutely untrue” and say that his church “opens their doors to absolutely everyone.”
“My faith is important to me but no church defines me or my life, and I am not a spokesman for any church or group of people,” he added.
Some also looked at who he follows on social media, suggesting it proves he has right-wing views.
Then there was that whole controversy surrounding a shirt he wore last year featuring the Gadsen flag, which has a coiled snake and the text “Don’t Tread On Me.”
That flag was created by American general Christopher Gadsden during the Revolutionary war but it has developed more political connotations in recent years.
According to Dictionary.com: “In the 2000s, the phrase became associated with a variety of libertarian, conservative, gun-rights, or far-right political groups as way to express their beliefs.”
Others pointed to a recent controversy he had when instead of urging people to vote in the upcoming election, he posted a joke about voting for “Onward” to win at the People’s Choice Awards. Many interpreted this as him mocking celebrities who are using their platforms to promoting voting. Others said he was downplaying the seriousness of the election.
View this post on Instagram
With all that’s going on in the world it is more important than ever that you vote. Just ask any celebrity. They will tell you. Every day. Several times a day. To vote. But me? I will tell you EXACTLY who to vote for. #onward The heroes before us did not spill their blood only to have their sacrifices wasted by your apathy. The upcoming 2020 People’s Choice Awards is the most consequential vote in the history of mankind times a million infinity. Vote for #Onward for family movie of the year. Or else. You WILL die. No hyperbole. Click the link in my bio. Let your voice be heard.
However, on the other side of this, CNN reported that he donated money to Democrat and former President Barack Obama’s campaign back in 2012.
On top of that, others looked to his wife Katherine Schwarzenegger-Pratt, daughter of the former Republican Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger.
She has notably shown support for Biden, but it’s unclear if her husband shares the same views.
Still, he is also on record saying he doesn’t support either political party.
In 2017, he told Men’s Fitness, “I don’t feel represented by either side.”
“I really feel there’s common ground out there that’s missed because we focus on the things that separate us.”
Basically, there’s really not enough evidence to say that Pratt is a Trump supporter, but he hasn’t come out to confirm or deny it either way.
Avengers Assemble to Defend Pratt
Even so, the internet eventually turned their dislike for Pratt into somewhat of a meme.
Many are making jokes at his expense and generally referring to him as the worst Chris.
All of this backlash eventually prompted a number of his Marvel costars to come out and defend him.
Mark Ruffalo, for instance, said Prat is “as solid a man there is.”
“I know him personally, and instead of casting aspersions, look at how he lives his life. He is just not overtly political as a rule. This is a distraction. Let’s keep our eyes on the prize, friends. We are so close now.”
Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn said Pratt, “is the best dude in the world. I’ve spent hours & hours sharing my deepest truths with this man, as he has with me. Please stop assuming what he believes, politically or in any other way, because he’s a Christian.”
Zoe Saldana followed up with a Tupac quote, “No matter how hard it gets, stick your chest out, keep your head up and handle it.
“You got this @prattprattpratt,” she added. “Your family, friends, colleagues & everyone who’s ever crossed paths with you knows your heart and your worth!”
Even Robert Downey Jr. shared a photo with Pratt on Instagram.
“What a world,” he wrote in the post caption. “The “sinless” are casting stones at my #brother, Chris Pratt… A real #Christian who lives by #principle, has never demonstrated anything but #positivity and #gratitude… AND he just married iznto a family that makes space for civil discourse and (just plain fact) INSISTS on service as the highest value.”
“If you take issue with Chris, I’ve got a novel idea. Delete your social media accounts, sit with your OWN defects of #character, work on THEM, then celebrate your humanness… @prattprattpratt I #gotyerbackbackback”
View this post on Instagram
What a world… The “sinless” are casting stones at my #brother, Chris Pratt… A real #Christian who lives by #principle, has never demonstrated anything but #positivity and #gratitude… AND he just married into a family that makes space for civil discourse and (just plain fact) INSISTS on service as the highest value. If you take issue with Chris,,, I’ve got a novel idea. Delete your social media accounts, sit with your OWN defects of #character, work on THEM, then celebrate your humanness… @prattprattpratt I #gotyerbackbackback (📸 @jimmy_rich )
Internet Users Accuse MCU Stars of Hypocrisy
Of course, many on the internet took issue with that swift display of support, especially since some women and actors of color in the MCU were met with silence from many of their costars when they faced bullying or harassment online.
For instance, some noted that Brie Larson faced a ton of harassment last year when she advocated for diversity in Hollywood.
She was regularly hit with a ton of sexist remarks at the time and “Captain Marvel” was flooded with negative reviews on Rotten Tomatoes before the film was even released.
Others said stars like Anthony Mackie, Tessa Thompson, Zendaya, and more actors of color have endured bullying, racist remarks, and even death threats without the same quick support Pratt received.
where was this energy for zendaya? brie larson? don cheadle? chadwick boseman? & anthony mackie? tessa thompson? when they were actually being harassed— wasteland, baby! (@ughhmedusa) October 21, 2020
Pratt has not comments on any of the backlash as of Wednesday afternoon.
See what others are saying: (Los Angeles Times) (Fox News) (CNN)
Fans Defend Billie Eilish From Body Shamers After Paparazzi Photo Goes Viral
- Billie Eilish was recently photographed wearing a tight tank top and jogger shorts, a departure from the usual baggy clothes she wears in an active effort to prevent people from commenting on her body.
- However, tabloids quickly spread this photo around and people ended up body shaming her on Twitter.
- Fans came to her defense, saying people should not critique anyone’s body or hold them to unrealistic standards. Some also pointed out that the world in general needs to normalize the fact that most people do not look like models.
- Billie posted a TikTok on her Instagram expressing a similar point of view. The TikTok was made by Chizi Duru, who said: “Y’all gotta start normalizing real bodies…Guts are normal…Instagram isn’t real.”
Billie Eilish Gets Body Shamed
Billie Eilish fans are calling out body shamers who made comments about the singer after she was photographed wearing non-baggy clothing.
Eilish was essentially wearing the unofficial outfit of quarantine, a fitted tan tank top and comfy jogger shorts, while out and about in Los Angeles on Sunday.
While most people get away with wearing something like that every day, the young Grammy winner was met with a tabloid frenzy. Eilish has become known for wearing baggy clothes and has even said she wears looser outfits intentionally to prevent people from making unprovoked comments about her body.
Photos of her in the relaxed attire went viral and made headlines, with gossip magazines quick to gawk at the pictures. Body shamers soon followed with their remarks. One Twitter user said she had a “mid-30s wine mom body.”
Fans Slam Body Shamers
Elish’s fans quickly ran to her defense, slamming those who body shamed the 18-year-old.
“There is nothing greater in this world than billie eilish being confident in her body,” one Twitter user wrote.
“To anyone who is body shaming Billie Eilish please stop putting unrealistic beauty standards on women,” another fan said. “She doesn’t deserve that and no one else deserves that either.”
Many also pointed out the fact that offensive and uncalled for comments like that are what stop the young singer from usually wearing fitted clothing.
Others called out tabloids for making a big story out of her wearing a normal casual outfit to begin with.
Billie Eilish Responds Responds
Eilish eventually issued an indirect response on her Instagram Story Tuesday night by sharing a TikTok from influencer Chizi Duru.
“Y’all gotta start normalizing real bodies, okay. Not everyone has a wagon behind them, okay,” Duru says in the video. “Guts are normal. They’re normal. Boobs sag, especially after breastfeeding. Instagram isn’t real.”
Eilish also posted a video of her walking past her Grammy awards, which many thought was a subtle clapback to body shamers.
This is not the first time she has addressed body shaming and other remarks made around her appearance and wardrobe. During some of her concerts, Eilish has played a short video where she recites a spoken word poem about her experiences with her body image and the media.
“Some people hate what I wear. Some people praise it,” she says in the video. “Some people use it to shame others. Some people use it to shame me.”
“The body I was born with is it not what you wanted? If I wear what is comfortable I am not a woman,” she continues. “If I shed the layers I’m a slut. Though you’ve never seen my body, you still judge it and judge me for it. Why?”
Some also shared this video as a reminder that body-shaming Eilish or anyone else is not okay. Her fans specifically pointed out that Eilish has been dealing with these kinds of issues for a long time and should not be subject to these repeated attacks.