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Gone With The Wind temporarily removed from streaming platform

The 1939 film will return to the platform with a ‘denouncement’ of its racist depictions, HBO Max said.

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Vivien Leigh and co-star Clark Gable in their famous clinch in the 1939 blockbuster Gone With the Wind (PA)

Vivien Leigh and co-star Clark Gable in their famous clinch in the 1939 blockbuster Gone With the Wind (PA)

Vivien Leigh and co-star Clark Gable in their famous clinch in the 1939 blockbuster Gone With the Wind (PA)

Gone With The Wind has been temporarily removed from a streaming platform following criticism of its “racist depictions”.

The 1939 epic, set in the south of the US during the American Civil War, will return to HBO Max with a discussion about its historical context and criticism of its “racial prejudices”.

The film told the love story of Scarlett O’Hara (Vivienne Leigh), the daughter of a plantation owner, and Rhett Butler (Clark Gable).

HBO Max told film site Variety: “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…

“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.”

The decision follows protests over the death of George Floyd, who died after a white police officer in Minneapolis knelt on his neck for several minutes as he cried out “I can’t breathe”.

It comes as Oscar-winning screenwriter John Ridley called for the film, which also starred Hattie McDaniel and Olivia de Havilland, to be removed from the platform.

The 12 Years A Slave screenwriter wrote in The Los Angeles Times that the movie “when it is not ignoring the horrors of slavery, pauses only to perpetuate some of the most painful stereotypes of people of colour”.

He said the movie “continues to give cover to those who falsely claim that clinging to the iconography of the plantation era is a matter of ‘heritage, not hate'”.

On Tuesday, it emerged that Little Britain had been removed from iPlayer because “times have changed” since the comedy first aired.

The series, starring David Walliams and Matt Lucas, has come under fire recently because of the use of blackface in some sketches.

Last week, Netflix also removed the show, as well as Walliams and Lucas’s other series Come Fly With Me.

Gone With The Wind scooped eight Oscars, including best supporting actress for McDaniel, who was the first black person to win an Oscar.

But she had to sit separately from her co-stars, at a table at the back of the room.

The film was based on the 1936 novel by Margaret Mitchell.

PA