Gone With the Wind is now gone from The Orpheum Theatre in Memphis, Tennessee. The theater’s board deemed the 1939 film “insensitive” to their larger audience after receiving “numerous comments” that stemmed from a screening on Aug. 11. As such, the title has been dropped from next year’s planned summer movie series.
“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,” read a statement from The Orpheum Theatre Group. “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.”
The statement continued, “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.”
Gone With the Wind, which won eight Academy Awards, features life on a Southern plantation during the Civil War and Reconstruction periods. Over the years, the subject matter has proven to be quite divisive for perpetuating a sympathetic view of the South during this time.
As posted on the Orpheum’s Facebook page event for the August screening, one user called the film “racist.” Another user quoted a journalist who reported the news, “slowly but surely, we will rid this community of all tributes to white supremacy.”
The Orpheum will be “announcing an exciting movie series in the spring of 2018 that will, as always, contain both classic films and more recent blockbusters.”