A movie theater in Memphis, Tennessee, decided to pull all future showings of the 1939 classic Gone With the Wind, citing racial insensitivities. The film has been a staple for the last 34 years at the historic Orpheum Theatre, but as the theater’s president Bret Batterson clarified in a statement, it was time to pull the plug after Charlottesville.
“This is something that's been questioned every year, but the social media storm this year really brought it home,” Batterson said.
It isn’t noted how much blowback the theater received for showing the movie, but Batterson believes his theater can’t “show a film that is insensitive to a large segment of its local population."
Memphis is 63% African-American, according to Al.com.
Gone With the Wind had it's first screenig this year at the Orpheum on August 11, but soon after receiving “numerous comments,” the theater decided to remove all showtimes indefinitely.
As Al.com also noted:
"Gone with the Wind," based on the 1936 novel by Atlanta's Margaret Mitchell, is set in the South during the Civil War and includes scenes involving slavery and the treatment of slaves. The movie won eight Oscars, including picture of the year.
Hattie McDaniel won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Mammy in the film, becoming the first African-American to win an Oscar. She and other black actors were not allowed to attend the film's premiere due to segregation laws in Atlanta at the time of its premiere.
"Gone With the Wind," is listed in the top 10 of the American Film Institute of top 100 American films and is preserved in the Library of Congress' National Film Registry.
The Orpheum announced the cancelation via Facebook, which appears to have stirred up an even bigger hornet’s nest than the original complaints.
One commenter wrote, “Ridiculous for this theater to bow to a few voices and remove a classic film from their lineup.”
"This would be laughable if it weren't so frightening. We are literally erasing our entire culture,” said another.
Comments online also included someone saying they had recently joked that Gone With the Wind would be banned, not realizing how soon they'd be correct. Another wondered why simply not going wasn't an option.
The Orpheum will likely begin feeling the financial repercussions of bowing to political correctness very soon.