“Gone with the Wind” will be returning to the streaming service HBO Max after being removed earlier this week due to its racist depictions and glorification of slavery.
When it becomes available again on HBO Max, it will include an introduction by Jacqueline Stewart, the host of “Silent Sunday Nights” on Turner Classic Movies and professor in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago.
Through the additional introduction, Stewart will place the film in its “multiple historical contexts.”
“Originally released in 1939, the film romanticizes slavery as a benign and benevolent institution," she explained in an op-ed to CNN. "Still the highest-grossing film in history when adjusted for inflation, ‘Gone with the Wind’ continues to have a profound impact on the ways mainstream audiences visualize the antebellum South and the Reconstruction period that followed the Civil War.”
“Moreover, the classic films we showcase on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) have played a major role in perpetuating the racist beliefs that devalue Black lives and normalize the use of excessive force against Black people.”
But Stewart said that films like “Gone with the Wind” should still be available to watch in order to analyze and discuss.
“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,” she wrote. “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.”
HBO Max announced on June 9 that the film would be removed amid global protests against racial injustice after public pressure mounted due to the film's themes.
John Ridley, screenwriter of “12 Years a Slave,” called for the film to be removed due to its perpetuation of racial stereotypes in an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times and re-introduced to the streaming platform "with other films that give a more broad-based and complete picture of what slavery and the Confederacy truly were."
In a statement, HBO Max explained, “'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 continued.
No date has been set for when the film will be returning to HBO Max with Stewart’s introduction.