HBO Max Pulls ‘Gone With the Wind’ — But It Will Be Back, With Changes

Gone with the Wind - Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh
Courtesy of The Everett Collection

HBO Max has removed the 1939 film Gone with the Wind from its library following backlash over the Civil War-set drama starring Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable, Hattie McDaniel, and Olivia de Havilland.

The four-hour epic depicting the love story between Leigh’s Scarlett O’Hara and Gable’s Rhett Butler is based on the 1936 best-selling book by Margaret Mitchell and has become a cinematic classic. Despite its icon status, Gone with the Wind has been called out for its portrayal of the American South and life on a plantation.

The film sees Black actors playing former slaves who, despite the abolition of cruel institution, remain complacent and subservient. Hattie McDaniel starred as servant Mammy, which earned her a Best Supporting Actress Oscar, making her the first Black person to win the coveted statue. The film directed by Victor Fleming won eight Oscars following its release and has become one of the highest-grossing films of all time.

As Black Lives Matter protests continue, the movie’s racially insensitive portrayals and association to Confederate storytelling has caused Gone with the Wind to come under scrutiny for obvious reasons. In answer to this, HBO Max released a statement to The Hollywood Reporter: about plans to reformat the content to include “an explanation and a denouncement” of the “racist depictions” presented in the film.

Gone with the Wind; Hattie McDaniel; Clark Gable

Hattie McDaniel and Clark Gable in Gone with the Wind (Credit: Courtesy of the Everett Collection)

HBO Max plans to reinstate the film to its library once these changes are made. Below, read the full response from the streamer:

“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. 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.”

Gone with the Wind, Returning Soon, HBO Max