TN Theater Cancels American Classic After 34 Years, Due to Complaints of ‘Racist Content’

Gone with the Wind is an iconic Civil War drama that portrays the life of southern belle Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh) who survives the war and reconstruction, while sifting through her rich love affairs.

Yes, the 1939 film does touch on slavery, which was historically accurate for the story’s time period. Now Memphis’ Orpheum Theater in Tennessee is cancelling their showing of the movie after 34 years of viewings. The theater’s board allegedly deemed it “insensitive” and “racist” after receiving “numerous comments” from customers.


Their statement reads:

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While title selections for the series are typically made in the spring of each year, the Orpheum has made this determination early in response to specific inquiries from patrons. The Orpheum appreciates feedback on its programming from all members of the mid-south community. The recent screening of Gone With the Wind at the Orpheum on Friday, August 11, 2017, generated numerous comments. The Orpheum carefully reviewed all of them.

They said, “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.”

 Many people are upset about the yanking of the film, especially after the theater’s tradition of showing it has gone on for 34 years. That’s 11 years longer than I have even been alive, so I can imagine all the people who grew up attending the viewing every year or so.
Even Rotten Tomatoes, a website that is generally somewhat harsh on films, give it a 94% satisfactory. Some of the comments from “Top Critics” read:
– “One of the truly great films, destined for record-breaking boxoffice business everywhere.”
– “Gone with the Wind is an epic drama that has its secured place in the history of cinema. With a grand story, standout performances and exceptional direction, this is one of the finest films ever made. With a simple story set amidst the Civil War that ravaged the U.S, the film is grand in scope and is highly engaging due to the chemistry of its two lead actors, Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh. This is a great movie because the story here are just so rich and simple in nature and the greatest movies use simple, yet emotional ideas to really tell a grand story…….”
– “Gone with the Wind, one of the most beloved and revered of American classics, showcases the best and worst of old Hollywood.”

The iconic film, set around a southern plantation during the Civil War and Reconstruction periods, follows the lives of several black and white characters of the historic era. Actress Hattie McDaniel, who played a house servant named Mammy, became the first African American to win an Academy Award for her role in the film.

What’s more, the film’s producer David O. Selznick went out of his way to avoid offending black audiences and consulted with black leaders at the time to insure the film would not be insensitive to blacks — in the way that, for example, Birth of a Nation was.

Selznick had refused to allow the N-word in the film. He wrote a letter to the NAACP president explaining that as a Jew he was painfully aware of what was happening in Europe (at that time, in the 1930s) to Jews and would not do anything to increase racial tensions in America. The NAACP wrote a corresponding letter to Selznick, thanking him for taking care not to include objectively insensitive material in the film.

Was the theater right in their decision to stop showing it or are they giving into a politically correct agenda?

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

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