The View co-hosts shared a deep conversation about the controversial move by HBO Max to remove Gone with the Wind from its library after protests of its depiction of slavery and servitude. All four co-hosts came to the same conclusion: the movie should have stayed on the streaming platform — with a caveat. When watching the film, especially with children, keep the context in mind.
CONTROVERSY OVER ‘GONE WITH THE WIND’ REMOVAL: HBO Max has temporarily removed the title from its streaming library in order to add historical context to the 1939 film — the co-hosts weigh in on if this was the right decision. https://t.co/aMj3ypbrZC pic.twitter.com/50s4Pxa22O
— The View (@TheView) June 10, 2020
Whoopi Goldberg, one of the few people to EGOT, said on the June 10 episode that she supported keeping Gone with the Wind up because it “was shot when things were different.” She stressed that it’s a slippery slope; if Gone with the Wind is censored, then the blaxploitation films of the 1970s would also have to be shelved, since “they’re not depicting us the right way. This is a very long list of films. If you put before the film is shown, ‘listen, we don’t do this anymore. You have to put it in context.
She shared some advice for co-host Meghan McCain, who is pregnant with her first child. It was actually Meghan’s idea to broach the Gone with the Wind controversy during Hot Topics. “I’m going to become a mother soon, and I’m thinking about what kind of art and cinema I’m going to show my future child,” Meghan said. “And I think, if I were to show my child Gone with the Wind, I would have to have a really serious conversation about how it’s a fantastical, completely fictionalized version of the South during that time.”
Whoopi responded, “What I can tell you is probably what I told my kids when we turned on a movie set in New York, and there’s no people of color… you always have to say, ‘these were shot at a different time when people didn’t realize how bad it was. I try to make sure that I can explain that there’s a whole history where people are not represented. We have to say [that] we’re trying to do better now. These were great movies.”
The Civil War drama, which takes place on a southern plantation, is criticized for its depiction of passive, content slaves and a romanticized depiction of the era. Hattie McDaniel, who played house servant Mammy in the film, became the first Black person to win an Oscar, for Best Supporting Actress. She was not allowed to sit with the rest of the cast at the ceremony. The Ambassador Hotel, where the awards show took place, enforced segregation until 1959. Coincidentally, today is Hattie’s birthday; the actress and singer died in 1952.
HBO announced their decision to pull the film in a June 9 statement: “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.” They noted that Gone With The Wind will eventually return to the platform, accompanied with a “discussion of its historical context and a denouncement of those very depictions,” as Whoopi had hoped.
The move comes after the Oscar-winning writer of 12 Years a Slave, John Ridley, penned a passionate op-ed for the Los Angeles Times. He described Gone with the Wind as “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. At a moment when we are all considering what more we can do to fight bigotry and intolerance, I would ask that all content providers look at their libraries and make a good-faith effort to separate programming that might be lacking in its representation from that which is blatant in its demonization.”
The Gone with the Wind discourse comes amid worldwide protests against police brutality after the killing of George Floyd. Black Lives Matter protests in the United States are in their second week, as demonstrators face even more brutality at the hands of police. They’ve been teargassed, shot with rubber bullets, beaten, and more — all in the name of justice.