A movie that is one of the most honored and revered films in history has been declared “insensitive” by the theater where the movie has had annual screenings for the past 34 years. The Orpheum in Memphis announced that it will no longer screen “Gone With the Wind.”
“After the film’s screening on Aug. 11 — the same evening as a march in Charlottesville, Va., by white nationalists ahead of the ‘Unite the Right’ rally on Aug. 12 — the theater received complaints online from patrons and commenters, who denounced the film’s portrayal of blacks and its romanticized view of the Old South,” The New York Times reports.
The 1939 classic won 10 Oscars, including a best supporting actress trophy for Hattie McDaniel, who played a slave named Mammy in the movie. McDaniel became the first black actor to win an Academy Award.
The theater announced that it would not screen “Gone With the Wind” next year. In a statement, Brett Batterson, president of the Orpheum Theater Group, said: “The recent screening of ‘Gone With the Wind’ at the Orpheum on Friday, Aug. 11, 2017, generated numerous comments. The Orpheum carefully reviewed all of them. As an organization whose stated mission is to ‘entertain, educate and enlighten the communities it serves,’ the Orpheum cannot show a film that is insensitive to a large segment of its local population.”
The Times notes that the cancellation has created a backlash online. The report quotes a Facebook commenter who wrote: “Shame on you for canceling ‘GWTW.’ You just insulted every single actor and crew member on this film. You insulted SAG and every institution that has fought for this film to be exhibited since its release in 1939.”