Days after HBO Max decided to temporarily pull Gone With the Wind from its service in light of anti-racism protests going on across the country, the classic film will be making a return to the app with one significant modification. According to Entertainment Tonight, Gone With the Wind will return to HBO Max with an introduction from Jacqueline Stewart, the host of Silent Sunday Nights on Turner Classic Movies. Stewart is a professor in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago. She is also the author of Migrating to the Movies: Cinema and Black Urban Modernity as well as the co-editor of L.A. Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema, making her incredibly qualified to deliver an apt introduction to contextualize the film amid ongoing protests.
Stewart penned an op-ed for CNN regarding her feelings on HBO Max pulling Gone With the Wind from its service. She also shared that she will be giving an introduction to the film once it does return. The professor explained, "HBO Max will bring Gone with The Wind back to its line-up, and when it appears, 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."
"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," Stewart continued. "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." Stewart's statements come days after HBO Max decided to pull the classic film from its service. At the time, the company penned a lengthy statement in which they shared that they made this decision due to the film's "racist depictions."
On Tuesday, a spokesperson for HBO said that "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" and "these racist depictions were wrong then and are wrong today." The company also expressed that they felt that "to keep this title up without an explanation and a denouncement of those depictions would be irresponsible," adding that "these depictions are certainly counter to WarnerMedia's values."
The company stressed that this removal would only be temporary. They related that Gone With the Wind would return "with a discussion of its historical context and a denouncement of those very depictions," though it will "be presented as it was originally created because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed." Of course, fans can now rest easy about the film's return, which will feature that aforementioned introduction from Stewart.