A massive Twitter campaign Sunday night caused HBO to respond again to backlash over its planned alternate-history slavery drama.
The nationwide #NoConfederate hashtag was trending on Twitter just as “Game of Thrones,” the network’s most popular show, began.
The social media users were speaking out against “Confederate,” the new show from “Game of Thrones” creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.
The Civil War drama will take place in an alternate universe in which southern states successfully seceded, which gave “rise to a nation in which slavery remains legal and has evolved into a modern institution.”
The show will follow characters on both sides of the drama, or the Mason-Dixon Demilitarized Zone, including freedom fighters, slave hunters, politicians, abolitionists, journalists and the “executives of a slave-holding conglomerate and the families of people in their thrall.”
Immediate backlash stemmed from the fear that the show would sugarcoat slavery, and that Benioff and Weiss, two white men, are the wrong people to take on the story.
The Twitter protest, arranged by April Reign, took on that message.
“Because there are already people in reality romanticizing the Confederacy,” one person wrote. “Now they’ll have a reason to cosplay.”
“Don’t use black pain for white entertainment,” wrote someone else.
“Because the terror of white supremacy is a reality for POC,” wrote another. “This shouldn’t even have to be a hashtag in 2017.”
In response to the protest, HBO urged fans to wait for more details.
“We have great respect for the dialogue and concern being expressed around Confederate,” the network said in a statement.
“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.”
Casey Bloys, HBO’s president of programming, made a similar request last week.
“Everyone understands there is a high degree of getting this right…If you can get it right, there is real opportunity to advance the racial discussion in America,” Bloys told the Hollywood Reporter.
“If you can draw a line between what we’re seeing in the country today with voter suppression, mass incarceration, lack of access to public education and healthcare and draw the line to our past and shared history, that’s an important line to draw and a conversation worth having. (The producers) acknowledge this has a high degree of difficulty. It’s a risk worth taking.”
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