Gone with the Wind returns to HBO Max, with added videos giving historical context

Clark Gable and Vivian Leigh in "Gone with the Wind."
(Image credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Two weeks after being pulled due to its "racist depictions," Gone with the Wind is back on HBO Max, with added historical context and denouncement of how the film represents Black people.

Gone with the Wind was temporarily removed from the streaming service two weeks ago, in the wake of the anti-racism protests sparked by the death of George Floyd. There are now two videos accompanying the 1939 movie: one is the Turner Classic Movies introduction with scholar Jacqueline Stewart and the other is a 57-minute panel discussion on Gone with the Wind's "complicated legacy."

HBO Max said in a statement the film 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."

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In her introduction, Stewart gives a historical context to Gone with the Wind, and discusses the problems with how Black characters are depicted. "The film presents the Antebellum South as a world of grace and beauty, without acknowledging the brutalities of the system of chattel slavery, upon which this world is based," she says. Watching a movie that romanticizes slavery and the Civil War-era South "can be uncomfortable, even painful," she adds. "Still, it is important that classic Hollywood films are available to us in their original form for viewing and discussion."

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Catherine Garcia

Catherine Garcia is night editor for TheWeek.com. Her writing and reporting has appeared in Entertainment Weekly and EW.com, The New York Times, The Book of Jezebel, and other publications. A Southern California native, Catherine is a graduate of the University of Redlands and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.