Gone with the Wind, a Hollywood classic from 1939, was temporarily removed from Warner Media's streaming service HBO Max in June 2020 due to its controversial content, which includes the glorification of the Antebellum South and painful stereotypes of people of color. The film depicts the story of Scarlett O'Hara, a White woman who regains her plantation and status after the Civil War, set on a cotton plantation in Atlanta, Georgia, in the 1860s. Jacqueline Stewart, an African American film scholar, provided an introduction to the re-released version to contextualize the film's distorted depiction of history and its uncomfortable and painful impact on viewers.
Survey & interviews
The rise of politically charged criticism of art and popular culture in the mainstream media has resulted in progressive moral objections to works of art from the past. Liedeke Plate, a cultural theorist, Marcel van den Haak, a sociologist of art, and Selina Bick, a master's student in literary studies, conducted a recent study aimed at identifying audiences' decodings of GWTW and responses to anti-racist criticism. The study aimed to answer the question of how fans of Gone with the Wind experience and evaluate the film in light of anti-racist criticism, and how their experiences and evaluations have changed over time. The researchers conducted an open-ended survey and follow-up interviews, including both closed and open-ended questions.
The online survey received 38 responses, including 29 women and eight men, born between 1939 and 2000, with seventeen of them having seen the movie six times or more. Seven people were interviewed as a follow-up. Many respondents identified as fans of GWTW and expressed emotional investment in the film.