John Oliver defends Gone with the Wind removal: ‘Who gives a s*** if something’s not on HBO Max?’

‘The answer to “where you draw the line” is literally always “somewhere”’

Louis Chilton
Monday 15 June 2020 09:30 BST
John Oliver responds to HBO removing Gone With The Wind

John Oliver has defended HBO Max‘s decision to temporarily remove Gone with the Wind from its catalogue amid concerns over racism.

The Oscar-winning 1939 epic will be re-added with additional notes to contextualise the film’s problematic depiction of slavery.

Speaking on his HBO comedy series Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, the comedian criticised the right-wing backlash over the withdrawal, highlighting a press conference given by the White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, in which she asked: “Where do you draw the line here?”

“The answer to ‘where you draw the line’ is literally always ‘somewhere’,” said Oliver. “You draw it somewhere. Also, HBO is not permanently pulling the movie – it’s going back up with additional context.”

He continued: “Finally, who gives a sh*t if something’s not on HBO Max? In fact, there may be no better way to obliterate all evidence of something’s existence than to put it on HBO Max, the only ash heap of history that costs $15 a month.”

An HBO Max spokesperson addressed the decision as news broke of Gone with the Wind‘s removal last week. They said: “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.”

The film has been accused of white-washing slavery and romanticising the treatment of black people in the south through the use of racist archetypes.

“Obviously, symbolic progress is progress and a lot of these changes have been a long time coming,” said Oliver, adding: “this week also brought stubborn reminders of the institutional inertia that is going to make real change so difficult like Joe Biden sticking by his plan to invest an additional $300 million into community policing efforts which is the precise opposite of reading the room.”

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