News and Commentary

CURL: The Woke Police Win, Force HBO To Yank All-Time Classic Film
Vivien Leigh (1913-1967), British actress, has her corset tightened by Hattie McDaniel (1892–1952), US actress, in a publicity still issued for the film, 'Gone with the Wind', 1939. The drama, directed by Victor Fleming (1889-1949), starred Leigh as 'Scarlett O'Hara', and McDaniel as 'Mammy'. (Photo by
Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

“Gone With The Wind,” the classic 1939 film based on Margaret’s Mitchell’s brilliant novel, garnered 13 Academy Award nominations, winning eight, including best picture, best director, best actress, and best adapted screenplay.

The film also featured a major milestone: Hattie McDaniel, who played “Mammy” in the film, won for best supporting actress — the first African American to win an Oscar (interesting aside, she was also the first black woman to sing on the radio in the United States).

The nearly four-hour film (with intermission) begins just before the start of the Civil War and follows the two main characters, Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh) and Rhett Butler (Clark Gable, who actually didn’t win an Oscar for his portrayal), as well as slaves and former slaves on an Atlanta plantation. The plot is complex, with 25 main characters and another dozen or so supporting roles. The whole mess doesn’t work out so well for Scarlett, who finally figures out that she really loves Rhett, only to have him utter the most famous line in movie history, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

Enter the Woke Police.

HBO Max has pulled the Civil War epic from its library amid heightened racial tensions following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died on Memorial Day after a Minneapolis police officer allegedly knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

The film, a network spokesman said, “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,” the spokesman told Variety. “These depictions are certainly counter to WarnerMedia’s values, so 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 spokesman said.

The film’s removal came after a director wrote an op-ed piece on Monday in the Los Angeles Times headlined: “Hey, HBO, ‘Gone With the Wind’ romanticizes the horrors of slavery. Take it off your platform for now.”

“It is a film that glorifies the antebellum south,” wrote John Ridley, a director and screenwriter who won an Academy Award for his adapted screenplay for “12 Years a Slave.” “It is a film that, when it is not ignoring the horrors of slavery, pauses only to perpetuate some of the most painful stereotypes of people of color.”

“Let me be real clear: I don’t believe in censorship. I don’t think ‘Gone With the Wind’ should be relegated to a vault in Burbank,” Ridley wrote. “I would just ask after a respectful amount of time has passed, that the film be re-introduced to the HBO Max platform along with other films that give a more broad-based and complete picture of what slavery and the Confederacy truly were. Or, perhaps it could be paired with conversations about narratives and why it’s important to have many voices sharing stories from different perspectives rather than merely those reinforcing the views of the prevailing culture.”

This is how the Woke Police work. No one is as smart as them. No one can know America’s truly dark history but them. And in order to view or read anything that was a snapshot of its time, the wise Woke Police demand that smart people explain to the idiots what it all means. Americans must be told they should feel shame and guilt for America’s past — they do, but that’s not enough for the Woke Police.

In Mark Twain’s 1884 classic, “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” the author used the “n-word” 219 times. But Twain (whose real name was Samuel Clemens) was virulently anti-racist. He was longtime friends with black educator Booker T. Washington and raised funds for the Tuskegee Institute – a school for blacks run by Washington.

Twain did so with purpose. “His repeated use of that derogatory term in Huckleberry Finn is absolutely deliberate, ringing with irony,” The Guardian wrote back in 2011 in an article about the word being expunged from a new edition of the book.

Twain knew the power of language — he used the word for effect, to capture the time. “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter – it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning,” he once said.

“But it’s exactly that vitriol and its unacceptable nature that Twain intended to capture in the book as it stands,” the Guardian’s Peter Messent wrote. “Perhaps this is not a book for younger readers. Perhaps it is a book that needs careful handling by teachers at high school and even university level as they put it in its larger discursive context, explain how the irony works, and the enormous harm that racist language can do. But to tamper with the author’s words because of the sensibilities of present-day readers is unacceptable. The minute you do this, the minute this stops being the book that Twain wrote.”

The same goes for “Gone With The Wind.” Trust us, Woke Police, we’re smart enough to sort through the meaning of the movie, to catch the derogatory treatment of blacks in the Civil War era — and even to understand that racism was still pervasive at the time the movie was made.

And you can be sure that the Woke Police, as always, will be back for more. Perhaps they’ll seek to cut out the scenes they find offensive in “Gone With The Wind.” Perhaps they’ll try to alter the language, or even add “fact checks” throughout the movie.

That’s the way of the Woke Police: Nothing is ever enough. If you can find a bookie who’ll take the wager, bet everything you have that they’ll be back to kill other movies as well.

The Daily Wire, headed by bestselling author and popular podcast host Ben Shapiro, is a leading provider of conservative news, cutting through the mainstream media’s rhetoric to provide readers the most important, relevant, and engaging stories of the day. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member.

Create a free account to join the conversation!

Already have an account?

Log in

Got a tip worth investigating?

Your information could be the missing piece to an important story. Submit your tip today and make a difference.

Submit Tip
Download Daily Wire Plus

Don't miss anything

Download our App

Stay up-to-date on the latest
news, podcasts, and more.

Download on the app storeGet it on Google Play
The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  CURL: The Woke Police Win, Force HBO To Yank All-Time Classic Film