Queen Latifah & John Oliver comment on ‘Gone with the Wind’ removal from HBO Max
As you may have heard, HBO Max temporarily pulled Gone with the Wind from its streaming service because "to keep this title up without an explanation and a denouncement of [its racist] depictions would be irresponsible," and they said it would "return with a discussion of its historical context and a denouncement of those very depictions." As she wrote in a CNN op-ed, Black scholar, professor, author, and Turner Classic Movies host Jacqueline Stewart will be the one providing that context.
"I will provide an introduction placing the film in its multiple historical contexts. For me, this is an opportunity to think about what classic films can teach us," Stewart wrote. "Right now, people are turning to movies for racial re-education, and the top-selling books on Amazon are about anti-racism and racial inequality. If people are really doing their homework, we may be poised to have our most informed, honest and productive national conversations yet about Black lives on screen and off."
John Oliver (who put out a powerful episode on police last week) roasted HBO Max and defended the removal of the film against conservative critics on this past Sunday's Last Week Tonight episode (which was mostly about facial recognition, including the ways police use it to target protesters), and Queen Latifah said in an interview with The Associated Press, "Let ‘Gone with the Wind’ be gone with the wind." She continues:
They didn’t even let [Hattie McDaniel, the first African American woman to win an Academy Award] in the theater until right before she got that award. Someone came outside and brought her into the auditorium. She wasn’t even allowed to sit in there. And then she had to read a speech that was written by a studio. You know that’s not what the hell she wanted to say.
Then after that, all she could do was play the same kinds of roles … So the opportunities at that time and the way that those in power in that business were relegating us and marginalizing us and not allowing us to grow and thrive after that was just terrible. And a lot of that is still around today.
Queen Latifah also spoke about the protests that followed George Floyd's death, corporations embracing Black Lives Matter, her song "U.N.I.T.Y." being sung by protesters at a march, including the LGBTQ community in the Black Lives Matter movement, and more. "This is like nothing I’ve ever seen in my life," she said of the protests. You can read the full interview here.
Watch John Oliver's facial recognition episode: