Gone with the Wind removed from HBO Max

The streaming service HBO Max has temporarily removed the classic film Gone with the Wind from its programme. The company explained the decision saying that the 1939 film's glorification of slavery on US plantations and the racist prejudices it depicts meant that it would be irresponsible for the platform to continue offering it without comment. The film would return with a discussion of the 'historical context', a spokesperson said. Is the move long overdue or exaggerated?

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The Independent (GB) /

Racism finally being banned from the screen

Georgina Lawton welcomes this particular form of self-censorship in The Independent:

“For years, these tropes aligned with the economic and social interests of mainstream white Americans and Europeans, placing black people as jiving, happy puppets, all too eager to put up and shut up, while providing some humanity to a racially hierarchical society: racism with a smiling face, as it were. ... Racism today is more covert and subtle than ever, and opposing boring, backwards stereotypes that deny us our agency is one way to jettison casual racism from our society. To those who insist upon clinging to a deeply divided and one-dimensional TV history, I say: move on.”

Novaya Gazeta (RU) /

We need to relearn how to debate

Novaya Gazeta agrees with HBO Max's decision to offer the film on its platform only with a critical disclaimer:

“Our society has been inflamed by public scandals and accusations on the part of the humiliated and the insulted. As such, it is increasingly splitting up into hostile camps that react with open animosity to every incident. ... In today's world discussion is the most difficult genre. It's easier to incite hatred, make personal attacks and censor other people's opinions than to back up your own point of view. No less important is hearing what your opponents have to say, and their reasons for doing so. Refusing to reconcile with others is a symptom of weakness. ... We should learn once more to analyse problematic cinema and watch films from different perspectives, also from that of those who have suffered traumatisms.”

Le Figaro (FR) /

Activists think audiences are stupid

People's ability to judge for themselves is being denied, philosopher Anne-Sophie Chazaud fumes in Le Figaro:

“The activists are only damaging their professed cause with their excesses. And, perhaps because of their own intellectual limits, they only have eyes for the stupidity of audiences, visitors and readers. ... They consider them uneducated and incapable of correctly assessing the discrepancy between the work on display and the historical, social, and scientific reality. The more outspoken a culture is, the more it needs to surround itself with metatexts, paratexts, epitexts, contextualisations and endless explanations. And the more it believes it's producing cultural and historical education with moralising impetus, the more it systemically fuels collective stupidity.”

Postimees (EE) /

Nothing but censorship

Commenting in Postimees, cultural critic Hendrik Alla is appalled by the decision:

“This is tantamount to burning books or records. ... I consider it to be censorship, and as someone who grew up under Brezhnev, I see nothing new in it. ... For me it remains scary to see someone, somewhere deciding what I am allowed to see, read or hear, what I should think about it, and what I may cry or laugh about. What is particularly dangerous is that the decision is not being made by a dull-witted official in a brown suit, but by the big money that HBO and Netflix represent. ... There's no point in arguing that the author would not have created such a work today. Every work of art is important as a document of the (cultural) context of its time.”