Earlier this week came the news that WarnerMedia had quietly removed the Academy Award winning classic movie Gone With the Wind from its HBO Max streaming service. This decision was met with cries of "Censorship" from some circles, despite the film still being widely available on other platforms and despite Warners confirming the film would return. In a new interview with Sirius XM, Chairman of WarnerMedia Entertainment Robert Greenblatt elaborated further on why they removed the film and provided details on what they'll be including with it when it returns to help contextualize it for anyone interested in watching it.
"(Gone With the Wind) has been on Turner Classic Movies the network many, many times over the years and they've talked about some of the racial stereotypes and some of the issues with how the Civil War is portrayed, which is much more positive, then focusing on slavery and a darker side of that issue. So they've contextualized it on the network. When we put it on the platform, and inside HBO Max we have a TCM hub, so you can scroll right down and go into the TCM universe and the movie is there. And when you call it up it does not have a disclaimer."
He continued, "If it was on the linear network it wouldn't need it because they're often talking about these issues, but we failed to put the disclaimer in there which basically sets up the issues that this movie really brings up. So we took it off and we're going to bring it back with a proper context, and it's what we should have done. I don't regret taking it down for a second, I only wish we had put it up in the first place with the disclaimer and we just didn't do that."
When prompted that they should consider a documentary that breaks down all of the issues with the film to include on HBO Max, Greenblatt called it a "good idea." He also confirmed a previously shot panel talk about the film's issues will be brought to the streaming service when the movie returns.
"I think a year or so ago they did a very detailed panel discussion about all these issues and I think it runs for about an hour. They filmed it and we're going to bring that into the platform as well. So yes, this is a complicated film, undeniably one of the most watched movies of all time and most award winning, and it has these issues which are not insignificant, especially at this moment of the world that we're in right now. We really do want to put the right context around it."
Though many users and internet denizens have cried foul and claimed HBO Max removing Gone With the Wind is censorship (it's not), and Greenblatt confirmed that is not their intention or what they're planning to do with the movie.
"People have said, including John Ridley who wrote the op-ed in the LA Times that started all this, we can't censor these films or edit them or just lock them away in a vault. We shouldn't deny that they exist, we should show them to people but also in the right context, and hopefully shed some light on these issues which effected Hollywood. The last century in Hollywood there are many darker moments on film that we need to talk about."
An official date for when Gone With the Wind will return on HBO Max has not yet been announced.