A Memphis theater is being both cheered and jeered for its decision to pull its annual summer viewing series of the 1939 Academy Award winning-film Gone With the Wind. Per Deadline, the Orpheum Theatre has been increasingly called out on social media for showing the antebellum classic, with critics concerned about the film’s depictions of slavery and its overall perspective of the South during the Civil War. After the most recent viewing on August 11, the historic theater agreed to end its 34-year run of the film, reports Commercial Appeal.
It said in a statement, “As an organization whose stated mission is to ‘entertain, educate and enlighten the communities it serves,’ the Orpheum cannot show a film that is insensitive to a large segment of its local population.” (Deadline notes that 64% of that population is black.) Defenders of the film are calling the move “stupid” on social media, with one Facebook commenter writing, “The Orpheum will be following the propaganda & discontinuing this historical film. #shameonyou #burnhistoryburn.” President of the Orpheum Theatre Group Brett Batterson says the decision has been brewing for a long time—“before Charlottesville”—and that turnout for the film has dropped in recent years: “This is something that’s been questioned every year, but the social media storm this year really brought it home." (Read more Gone With the Wind stories.)