HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (CNS) -- "Gone with the Wind" has been temporarily pulled from HBO Max and will return to the recently launched streaming service with a "discussion of its historical context and a denouncement of those very depictions" of blacks and slavery.
"'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 Max spokesperson said 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.
"These depictions are certainly counter to WarnerMedia's values, so when we return the film to HBO Max, it will return with a discussion of its historical context and a denouncement of those very depictions, but will be presented as it was originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed. If we are to create a more just, equitable and inclusive future, we must first acknowledge and understand our history."
The announcement came one day after director, screenwriter and novelist John Ridley wrote in the Los Angeles Times that HBO Max should consider removing "Gone with the Wind" from its offerings.
"As a filmmaker I get that movies are often snapshots of moments in history," wrote Ridley, who won a best adapted screenplay Oscar for "12 Years a Slave" in 2014.
"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."
"Gone with the Wind" has drawn criticism from blacks for its depiction of them and of slavery since its release in 1939.
The film won 10 Oscars, including best picture and seven others competitively, along with honorary awards for outstanding achievement in the use of color for the enhancement of dramatic mood and for pioneering the use of coordinated equipment in its production.
"Gone with the Wind" had the largest box office receipts in American movie history, until being eclipsed by "The Sound of Music" in 1966. It regained the title in 1971 following re-releases in 1967 and 1971, then was passed by "The Godfather" in 1972. When adjusted for inflation, "Gone with the Wind" is the all-time box office champion.