John Oliver is one of HBO’s most beloved and award-winning voices, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to play nice with parent company WarnerMedia’s new streaming platform HBO Max. The streamer has generated headlines for temporarily pulling “Gone with the Wind” from its platform over its depictions of “ethnic and racial prejudices.” During the June 14 installment of “Last Week Tonight,” Oliver touched upon HBO Max’s “Gone with the Wind” controversy while criticizing White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who expressed worry over the film’s removal and asked “where do you draw the line?”
“The answer to ‘where you draw the line’ is literally always ‘somewhere.’ You draw it somewhere,” Oliver said. “Also, HBO is not permanently pulling the movie — it’s going back up with additional context. And finally, who gives a shit if something’s not on HBO Max? In fact, there may be no better way to obliterate all evidence of something’s existence than to put it on HBO Max, the only ash heap of history that costs $15 a month.”
As Oliver noted, HBO Max will bring “Gone with the Wind” back to its platform at a later date accompanied with a disclaimer note about the film’s racist depictions and a supplemental conversation with academics about the movie’s historical context. A spokesperson for HBO Max said last week 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. They 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.”
The statement continued: “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.”
HBO Max has not yet announced when “Gone with the Wind” will return to its platform.