A new footnote in this history of Gone With the Wind: The film won eight Oscars, including best picture, in 1940. Eighty years later, it's been yanked from HBO Max over its racial content—the Wall Street Journal flags its "portrayal of happy slaves" and "romanticism of slavery and that era of American history." The move follows Oscar-winner John Ridley's call to have that very action taken. In a Los Angeles Times opinion piece, the winner of best adapted screenplay for 12 Years a Slave wrote Monday that "I know taking down a film—particularly a classic Hollywood film—seems like a big request. But it’s not nearly as big a demand as when your children ask whether they can join protests in the streets against racial intolerance, or when they come to you wanting to know what you did to make the world a better place."
But he didn't call for the film—which "perpetuate[s] some of the most painful stereotypes of people of color"—to be pulled for good. Rather, he suggested it could be reintroduced "after a respectful amount of time has passed" and in a thoughtful way. That's the streaming service's plan. In a statement, it calls the four-hour film a "product of its time" and one that "depicts some of the ethnic and racial prejudices that have, unfortunately, been commonplace in American society." It says the film will ultimately return "with a discussion of its historical context and a denouncement of those very depictions." The New York Times notes the film remains the highest grossing film of all time when adjusted for inflation. (Cops, however, won't be coming back.)