Cam­paign against HBO slave drama takes off

The Maui News - - TODAY’S PEOPLE - By LYNN ELBER The As­so­ci­ated Press

LOS ANGELES — A so­cial me­dia cam­paign to de­rail HBO’s planned mod­ern-day South­ern slav­ery drama quickly caught fire, prompt­ing the ca­ble chan­nel to ask de­trac­tors to with­hold judg­ment un­til they see “Con­fed­er­ate.”

The cam­paign, with “Os­carsSoWhite” ac­tivist April Reign among its or­ga­niz­ers, asked peo­ple to tweet to HBO with the hash­tag “NoCon­fed­er­ate” dur­ing Sun­day’s broad­cast of “Game of Thrones.”

“Game of Thrones” is pro­duced by David Be­nioff and D.B. Weiss, who are de­vel­op­ing the re­cently announced “Con­fed­er­ate.” The pair, who are white, will work with hus­band-and-wife Mal­colm Spell­man and Nichelle Tram­ble Spell­man, who are black writer-pro­duc­ers.

Reign tweeted Sun­day that #NoCon­fed­er­ate rapidly shot to the top ranks of Twitter. It didn’t take long for HBO to re­spond to the cam­paign that am­pli­fied ear­lier crit­i­cism of the project.

“We have great re­spect for the di­a­logue and con­cern be­ing ex­pressed around ‘Con­fed­er­ate,’” the chan­nel said. “We have faith that Nichelle, Dan, David and Mal­colm will ap­proach the sub­ject with care and sen­si­tiv­ity. The project is cur­rently in its in­fancy so we hope that peo­ple will re­serve judg­ment un­til there is some­thing to see.”

In an­nounc­ing “Con­fed­er­ate” ear­lier this month, HBO de­scribed the story as fol­low­ing “a broad swath of char­ac­ters on both sides of the Ma­son-Dixon Demil­i­ta­rized Zone.”

A back­lash quickly fol­lowed, in­clud­ing from writer Rox­ane Gay. Her Tues­day opin­ion piece for The New York Times car­ried the head­line “I Don’t Want to Watch Slav­ery Fan Fic­tion.”

“It is cu­ri­ous that time and again, when peo­ple cre­ate al­ter­nate his­to­ries, they are largely repli­cat­ing a his­tory we al­ready know, and in­ti­mately,” Gay wrote.

Last week, HBO pro­gram­ming pres­i­dent Casey Bloys ac­knowl­edged mis­steps in how it announced the drama se­ries but de­fended its value.

“File this un­der, ‘hind­sight is 20-20,’” Bloys said. HBO was mis­guided in putting out a press re­lease in­stead of hav­ing the pro­duc­ers ex­plain the idea in interviews, he said.

The show won’t be “whips and plan­ta­tions,” Bloys said, but will draw a line be­tween Amer­ica to­day and its past as it tries to ad­vance the dis­cus­sion on race re­la­tions. The more pro­duc­ers can weigh in about why the project is im­por­tant, the more it will make sense, Bloys said.

But an interview the show’s cre­ative team gave af­ter the ini­tial out­cry failed to stem the #NoCon­fed­er­ate cam­paign. In com­ments to Vul­ture, Tram­ble Spell­man said that the drama isn’t go­ing to be “the big ‘Gone With the Wind’ man­sion.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.