HBO Responds To #NoConfederate Twitter Campaign
Shortly after it was announced last week that Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss would be creating a new HBO show titled Confederate – a show about an alternate-timeline where the South won the Civil War – a Twitter campaign was started to halt the creation of the show.
Confederate will examine the United States in this alternate-timeline where slavery has since become a “modernized institution,” according to an HBO press release last week. Backlash online over the premise of the show was swift, as some users claimed that it was wrong for the network to be profiting off of one of the most horrific crimes in human history.
The online Twitter campaign was started by a user named April Reign, who tweeted, among other things, “Because, for some, the Confederacy isn’t alt-history. It’s right now.” The tweet was punctuated with an image of a Confederate flag with the words “Donald Trump For President” printed on it.
— April (@ReignOfApril) July 31, 2017
Reign coordinated the protest to take place during last night’s airing of HBO’s most successful series, Game of Thrones. The protest shot the hashtag to the top of the trending list in the U.S. and was trending number two world wide. Reign was also the organizer of the highly successful #OscarsSoWhite campaign in 2015.
“We have great respect for the dialogue and concern being expressed around Confederate,” a statement from HBO concerning the controversy read. “We have faith that [Confederate creators] Nichelle [Tramble Spellman], Dan, David and Malcolm [Spellman] will approach the subject with care and sensitivity. The project is currently in its infancy so we hope that people will reserve judgement until there is something to see.”
Casey Bloys, HBO’s President of Programming, said that it was HBO’s mistake to announce the synopsis of the show so early in process and not the producers fault during a speech he made earlier this week at the Television Critics Assn. press tour, according to Variety.
“Our mistake – HBO’s mistake, not the producers – was the idea that we would be able to announce an idea that is so sensitive and requires such care and thought on the part of the producers in a press release was misguided on our part,” Bloys said.
“The producers have said they’re not looking to do Gone With the Wind 2017. It’s not whips and plantations. It’s what they imagine a modern day institution of slavery would look like … All we can do is ask that people judge the final product of these artists and not what it could be or might be.”
If plans to make Confederate stay the same, the show is expected to begin production towards the end of 2018 or the beginning of 2019.