HBO Max, the streaming service of WarnerMedia, has temporarily removed cinema classic Gone With the Wind from its film section due to the film's depictions of ethnic and racial prejudices.

The move came after 12 Years a Slave screenwriter John Ridley said in the Los Angeles Times that the 1939 film, which won eight Oscars, "is a film that, when it is not ignoring the horrors of slavery, pauses only to perpetuate some of the most painful stereotypes of people of color".

He added: "It is a film that, as part of the narrative of the 'Lost Cause', romanticizes the Confederacy in a way that continues to give legitimacy to the notion that the secessionist movement was something more, or better, or more noble than what it was - a bloody insurrection to maintain the 'right' to own, sell and buy human beings."

Gone With the Wind 

Gone With The Wind, one of the top-earning movies of all time, is set on a plantation in the lead-up and aftermath of the American Civil War.

An HBO Max spokesperson said, "Gone With the Wind will eventually return, but it will feature a discussion of its historical context and a denouncement of its racist depictions".

The statement continued: "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.

"These depictions are certainly counter to WarnerMedia's values, so when we return the film to HBO Max, it 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.

"If we are to create a more just, equitable and inclusive future, we must first acknowledge and understand our history."

Hattie McDaniel, who played house servant Mammy in the film, became the first African American woman to win an Oscar and there have been mixed reaction to WarnerMedia’s move.

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In the last few days a number of television programmes have been pulled over concerns about racist depictions of characters.

In the UK, Little Britain was pulled due to the use of blackface in episodes. Paramount Network cancelled the police docu-series Cops and A&E Network has pulled new episodes of Live PD.

HBO Max has replaced guns with a scythe in its new Looney Tunes Cartoons series, in response to US gun violence.