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Letters to the Editor: Removing ‘Gone With the Wind’ from HBO Max is censorship, period

 A crowd walks past the Astor Theater during the Broadway premiere of "Gone With the Wind" in New York on Dec. 19, 1939.
(Associated Press)

To the editor: I am shocked that screenwriter, director and novelist John Ridley demanded the elimination of “Gone with the Wind” from the HBO Max streaming service, and that HBO caved.

Yes, “Gone with the Wind” portrays slavery in a benign light, and it could not be remade today without a major rewrite to dramatize the horrors of slavery and include multidimensional Black characters. It is also a major landmark in film history and one of the most popular movies ever made.

Censorship is wrong, even if it’s done by anti-racists demanding to suppress a film that, for all its glorification of the “lost cause,” also presents a heroine who grows from a shallow schemer into a woman of strength and power. Besides, removing “Gone with the Wind” prevents viewers from seeing the first performance by a Black actor to win an Academy Award.

Mark Gabrish Conlan, San Diego

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To the editor: Thank you for publishing Ridley’s timely essay about the 1939 film “Gone With the Wind.” Many of my elders considered this film nonfiction, depicting the “truth” about the Civil War.

Rebel soldiers like Ashley Wilkes were dashing, romantic heroes to them. They truly believed that the so-called cause the Confederacy fought for was righteous and sacred.

Bravo to HBO for its decision to pull it from their lineup. I agree with Ridley: The film should be shown, but with panel discussions and interviews to help viewers understand the harm this kind of propaganda has caused.

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Marcia Harlan, Idyllwild

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To the editor: I appreciated Ridley’s piece urging HBO not to show “Gone With the Wind.”

In 2001, a parody novel was published entitled “The Wind Done Gone,” a retelling of the story of “Gone With the Wind” from the standpoint of one of the slaves. I wonder if there has been any consideration of making a movie based on that novel.

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John T. Donovan, Hacienda Heights


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