Despite HBO’s continued support of “Confederate,” a series being developed by “Game of Thrones” showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, critics of the project are planning an online protest to publicize their concerns with the project.
April Reign, who created the #OscarSoWhite hashtag to call attention to the lack of Oscar representation for people of color, has shifted her focus to “Confederate.” The series imagines an alternative historical timeline in which the South had won the Civil War, and slavery is legal. The new modernity would be set during the Third American Civil War.
Per the release, “The story follows a broad swath of characters on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Demilitarized Zone – freedom fighters, slave hunters, politicians, abolitionists, journalists, the executives of a slave-holding conglomerate and the families of people in their thrall.”
Reign and a group of other social media influencers including Rebecca Theodore, Shanelle Little, Lauren Warren, Jamie Broadnax and Black Girl Nerds, believe the idea for the show capitalizes on black pain for entertainment. They’re urging anyone who is concerned about “Confederate” to tweet out the hashtag #NoConfederate during 9-10 p.m. ET on Sunday.
The Twitter campaign is strategically timed to the East Coast airing of “Game of Thrones,” which becomes a trending topic every Sunday thanks to fans who live-tweet their reactions and commentary while viewing the show.
— April (@ReignOfApril) July 28, 2017
Benioff and Weiss are not far along in developing the series, mainly because they’re still busy finishing up the final two seasons of “Game of Thrones” first. In an interview with Vulture, Benioff said, “You know, we might fuck it up. But we haven’t yet.”
Nichelle Tramble Spellman and Malcolm Spellman, both of whom are African American, will also executive produce. In the same interview, Malcolm Spellman said, ““They knew they needed black voices on it. For me and Nichelle, it’s deeply personal because we are the offspring of this history. We deal with it directly and have for our entire lives. We deal with it in Hollywood, we deal with it in the real world when we’re dealing with friends and family members…As people of color and minorities in general are starting to get a voice, I think there’s a duty to force this discussion.”
At HBO’s Television Critics Association press tour executive session on Wednesday, network president Casey Bloys said, “All we can do is ask people to judge the final product — not what it could be or might be.”
Reign and the other critics, however, don’t want “Confederate” to even get that chance. #NoConfederate is an attempt to stop development on the series altogether, before casting begins, before money is spent on production.
Among some of the arguments against “Confederate” is how the fictional series could be detrimental to the actual facts. “What makes the premise fundamentally problematic is that it threatens to erase the actual history,” activist Bree Newsmen told The Hollywood Reporter. “There has been so much deliberate miseducation around the Civil War, and this basically rewrites black history of the past 150 years. We combat racism through educating people on history, so it’s dangerous to present alternative histories when people are still not clear on the facts.”
Jermaine Spradley of Bleacher Report also points out that the real effects of slavery is still ongoing in America. In a thread on Twitter, he noted, “How alternate is the history if Confederate flags still fly atop state buildings across the south? How alternate is the history when the [president’s] right hand man is an admitted white nationalist?”