UNITED STATES. Despite much love for and the popularity of Victor Fleming’s film “Gone with the Wind,” HBO removed the 1939 blockbuster from its online library, taking a strong stand behind the Black Lives Matter movement sweeping across the United States and the world following the death of George Floyd Jr. Floyd was killed by police officers during an arrest in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 25, 2020. Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, who has been charged with second-degree murder, knelt on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes. During that time, video recording of the incident shows Floyd repeatedly begging for his life, saying, “I can’t breathe.” The highly-publicized murder shed light on the continued violence against the black community in the United States.
The 1939 classic “Gone with the Wind” portrays the love story between Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler during the American Civil War. The film has been widely criticized for its portrayal of African-American lives.
An HBO Spokesperson told CNN Business that “Gone with the Wind” is “a product of its time and depicts some of the ethnic and racial prejudices that have, unfortunately, been commonplace in American society. These racist depictions were wrong then and are wrong today, and we felt that to keep this title up without an explanation and a denouncement of those depictions would be irresponsible.” He added that HBO plans to return the film to viewership “with a discussion of its historical context and a denouncement of those very depictions,” noting the film “will be presented as it was originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed.”
The Black Lives Matter movement continues to have momentum, gaining economic and social support from around the world. Shocking steps were taken by some individuals of major corporations, such as Reddit’s co-founder Alexis Ohanian. Ohanian stepped down from Reddit’s board and urged the company to replace her position with a black candidate. Reddit honored Ohanian’s request, posting Michael Seibel to its board.
Many other companies and prominent platforms have also expressed support to Black Lives Matter through donations.
- The Daily Show with Trevor Noah and Comedy Central donated to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, The Equal Justice Initiative and The Bail Project.
- Airbnb promised a donation of $500,000 to the NAACP and Black Lives Matter Foundation.
- Google donates $12 million funds to organizations working at addressing racial inequalities and donated another $25 million ad grants.
- Amazon donates a total of $10 million to various foundations and also Tweeted “The Inequalities and brutal treatment of black people in our country must stop.”
- Box CEO Aaron Levie said he would donate $500,000 from his personal fortune as he asked for recommendations on Twitter regarding organizations working to eliminate racial injustice.
- Cisco donated $5 million to racial justice, including Equal Justice Initatives, Black Lives Matter, and the company’s own fund for “Fighting Racism and Discrimination.”
- Uber donates $1 million to the Center for Policing Equity and Equal Justice Initative.
- Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey donates $3 million to former NFL player Colin’s Kaepernick’s organisation Know Your Rights Camp.
- SoftBank is launching a $100 million Opportunity Fund for companies led by people of color.
- Shopify committed $1 million to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Black Health Alliance, and Campaign Zero.
- Comcast announced a $100 million multiyear plan allocating $75 million in cash and $25 million in media to fight inequality and justice.
- Facebook donates $10 million to various groups fighting racial justice.
- Intel pledged $1 million in support.
- Lyft provides $500,000 in ride credit to the National Urban League, NAACP, National Action Network, Black Women’s Roundtable, and National Bail Fund Network.
- Microsoft donates $1.5 million to various foundations.
- Netflix donates $1 million to the Center for Policing Equity.
- Peloton promises a $500,000 donation to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
- TikTok donates $3 million to nonprofits that help the black community and $1 million toward fighting racial injustice and inequality.
Some companies have even taken a more political stance behind the Black Lives Matter movement. For instance, Snapchat’s Discover feature stopped promoting President Donald Trump’s content in consideration of his response to protests and rallies following Floyd’s death.
Despite the protest being a US domestic occurrence, voices of support have risen across the world, especially on social media platforms. This not only shows solidarity among people during injustice but also on the idea of racism. Each and every individual can contribute and join the movement through one of links below.