Megyn Kelly is criticizing HBO Max’s decision to temporarily remove Gone With the Wind from its library — and wrote a Twitter rant about censorship.
The streaming service pulled the 1939 film, citing its racist depictions, Tuesday amid nationwide protests calling for racial equality in the wake of George Floyd’s death. The former Fox News and NBC News personality criticized the business’s decision, saying, “Where does this end??”
Kelly, who was fired from the Today show in 2018 for defending the use of blackface in the context of dressing up as a character, asked on Twitter whether we will now “pull all of the movies in which women were treated at sex objects too?” adding, “Guess how many films we’ll have left? Where does this end?”
Kelly went on to say that “every episode of Friends,” which is also streaming on HBO Max, would need “to go” — on the heels of the show’s co-creator Marta Kauffman admitting she “didn't do enough” for diversity with its all-white cast. “If not, you hate women (& LGBTQ ppl, who also don’t fare well on Friends).”
Kelly also said that Game of Thrones “has to go,” as well as “anything by John Hughes,” adding the names of filmmakers Woody Allen, Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese.
As her list grew, she said, “Let’s keep it going until all we have left is The Queen and Captain America.”
Kelly also took issue with Cops being canceled and Live P.D. being put under review by A&E in the wake of George Floyd’s killing while in police custody. She said that “watching a police show is somehow offensive to some.” Her advice? “If you don’t like it, don’t watch.”
Kelly also agreed with a commenter that “Law & Order has to go too.”
She ended the diatribe by writing that people can “loathe bad cops, racism, sexism, bias against the LGBTQ community, and not censor historical movies, books, music and art that don’t portray those groups perfectly. Ppl understand art reflects life... as we evolve, so do our cultural touchstones.”
HBO Max confirmed the decision about Gone With the Wind Tuesday, saying the movie will eventually return to the platform but with a discussion about its historical context and a denouncement of its racist depictions. (Disney has added disclaimers to several of its old films that feature dated and offensive storylines. Its film Song of the South will never come out of the vault on Disney+.)
In a statement to Variety, a spokesperson 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. 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. 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 decision followed 12 Years a Slave screenwriter John Ridley’s op-ed in the Los Angeles Times calling for the film to be taken down. Ridley wrote, “It is a film that glorifies the antebellum south. 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.”
Kelly was fired from NBC in 2018 following a discussion about Halloween costumes on Megyn Kelly Today in which she defended blackface. She said that as a child 40 years ago, it “was OK as long as you are in character.” Now, “you get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface on Halloween or a black person who puts on whiteface for Halloween.” She didn’t understand how the practice “got racist,” saying, “I don’t know. I can’t keep up with the number of people we’re offending just by being normal people.”
She apologized shortly after, acknowledging that blackface is “indeed wrong,” but she was fired anyway — reportedly with a huge payout.
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