Adjusted for inflation, Gone With the Wind is the highest grossing film of all time. It won 10 Oscars, including the first ever for an African-American performer, supporting actress Hattie McDaniel.
But the 1939 film, adapted from the Margaret Mitchell book of the same name, has several problematic elements, including stereotyped depictions of African Americans, a case of marital rape and a generally gauzy depiction of the Civil War-era South.
When HBO Max pulled it from its nascent service there was both support and outrage.
The film will return, a spokesperson said, with "a discussion of its historical context" and denunciation of its racially charged aspects. The movie itself won't be altered.
The move was encouraged by 12 Years a Slave director John Ridley, who pointed out that the film "glorifies the antebellum south" and perpetuates "some of the most painful stereotypes of people of color."
Not everyone was behind the decision. Wrote critic Charlie Kirk: “Liberty means: If you don't like Gone With The Wind, then don't watch it If you don't want to leave your home, then don't If you don't like someone else's views, then don't listen You don't have to silence people, erase history, or cancel our culture to feel ‘safe’in America”.
Rep. Paul Gosar pointed out the ironic timing: “Born today in 1893: Hattie McDaniel, the first black actress to win an Academy Award for her role in Gone With the Wind. HBO removed her award-winning movie on what would have been her 127th birthday.”
Megyn Kelly also denounced the move saying, “For the record, you can loathe bad cops, racism, sexism, bias against the LGBTQ community, and not censor historical movies, books, music and art that don’t portray those groups perfectly. Ppl understand art reflects life… as we evolve, so do our cultural touchstones.”
She added that if Gone With the Wind has to go, “let’s do this – every episode of ‘Friends’ needs to go right now. If not, you hate women (& LGBTQ ppl, who also don’t fare well on ‘Friends’). Obviously Game of Thrones has to go right now. Anything by John Hughes … Woody Allen… could go on & on… & on…& on…”