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Memphis Theatre Ends Decades-Long Presentations of ‘Gone with the Wind’ over Charges of Racism

And just like that, “Gone with the Wind” is gone with the wind in Memphis, Tennessee.

And the culprit? Oh, you know – racism.

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According to the Commercial Appeal, the Orpheum Theatre in Memphis says it will no longer screen the 1939 Oscar-winning film after receiving “numerous comments” from the community that referred to the American classic as “insensitive” and “racist.”

A statement from the Orpheum Theatre Group reads:

“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. 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.”

“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” had been screened by the Orpheum for the last 34 years, and had proven to be a big part of its Summer Movie Series.

Many who’ve been critical of the Orpheum’s decision point out the irony that in an effort to be more racially sensitive, the theatre has chosen to stop showing the first film in which an African-American won an Academy Award; Hattie McDaniel received the honor for her portrayal of house servant “Mammy.”

By Robert G. Yetman, Jr. Editor At Large

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