Amazon has an unlikely new bestseller in the form of the 80-year-old Gone With the Wind, which shot to the top of the chart after the movie was pulled from HBO Max on Tuesday due to some of its objectionable content.
The reason for its removal came down to those in charge of the streaming service deciding – not unreasonably – that a film which essentially glorifies racism and slavery is not one to hold up unaccountable amidst the period of social unrest the US is currently going through. The injustices faced by African Americans have become increasingly visible to those who one way or another have been shielded from them, with many content providers deciding that now is a time to elevate and amplify black voices rather than others that through ignorance or intent play a part in their remaining second-class citizens.
Some of the sales doubtless come from the multitudes of people who love the film and want to maintain easy access to it. After all, there’s a reason why even those who’ve never even watched the movie are aware of its basic premise, can quote Clark Gable’s iconic final line, or the final line a couple of minutes later becoming a well-used turn of phrase. However, it’s impossible not to assume a decent percentage is a knee-jerk reaction against some people’s perception that others have decreed what they are and aren’t allowed to watch, and so they clicked over to the easiest loophole in the supposed censorship.
The movie’s removal is not permanent, though, and it was specifically stated that it’ll return alongside “a discussion of its historical context,” that will address its numerous problematic issues with race (and presumably gender), in much the same way that Warner Bros. does with many of its older cartoons that really haven’t aged well, leaving their mistakes denounced for the world to see.
It’s understandable why an acknowledged classic like Gone With the Wind could become a bestseller even so long after its release, but there’s little doubt it was pushed to such a position by many people acting in reactionary petulance that sooner or later will be a moot point when the film is restored.