On Wednesday’s ‘The Daily Show,” Trevor Noah touched on the news that “Gone With the Wind” has been temporarily pulled from HBO Max pending an updated release that contextualizes and denounces the film’s racist content. And then he and show correspondent Dulcé Sloan helped HBO Max out by creating that updated cut for them.
The background for the joke started on Monday, when “12 Years a Slave” screenwriter John Ridley wrote in a Los Angeles Times op-ed that especially in light of the nationwide protests against systemic racism, HBO should stop streaming the film. He didn’t call for it to be locked away for good, but asked that added to any broadcast should be an acknowledgment and discussion of its racist depictions of black people and its glorification of the pre-civil war south and the institution of slavery.
On Tuesday night, Warner Bros., which owned HBO Max, granted the request, pulling it from its streaming services. In a statement, WB said “we felt that to keep this title up without an explanation and a denouncement of those depictions would be irresponsible and that the film “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.”
“Now, HBO hasn’t said how they’re gonna add context to ‘Gone With the Wind. And it is gonna be a tough task,” Noah said about that. “So, we decided to do it for them.” Then he rolled an edited version of a couple of scenes, but with Sloan popping up into the scene to explain how messed up it is.
In the first, we begin as Ashley Wilkes (Leslie Howard) tells Scarlett O’Hara (Vivian Leigh) how pretty she looks. “It’s the glow of never working,” Sloan pops up to say.
Then, Ashley reminisces about “oh the lazy days” — to which Sloan says “they weren’t lazy for everyone” — followed by a real jaw drop of a line where he waxes nostalgic about warm summer nights and “the high soft negro laughter.” “What now?” Sloan pops up to say. “Let’s get one thing straight: Black people laugh loud. If we’re laughing softly, it means we’re laughing at your ass.”
In the next scene, Scarlett walks the grounds of her mansion with Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) and says she’d “give anything” for the place to be like it was before the Civil War. “You know she’s talking about slavery… you got that, right?” Sloan interjects.
Rhett of course tells her to spend as much money as she wants to make it “as fine” a place as it ever was.” “Oh, it will be a fine plantation,” Sloan says to this. “But it’s gonna have to have white labor next time.”
Watch the whole clip above. The “Gone With the Wind” stuff begins about 2 minutes and 30 seconds in.