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Cinema cancels Gone With the Wind screening over 'racially insensitive' content

The film is usually shown every summer but will not be shown next year.

Vivien Leigh and Hattie McDaniel played two of the film's main roles.
Vivien Leigh and Hattie McDaniel played two of the film's main roles.
Image: MGM

A TENNESSEE THEATRE has cancelled a long-running screening of Gone With the Wind because of racially insensitive content in the classic 1939 film.

Officials at Memphis’ Orpheum Theatre have announced that the film will not be shown during its summer movie series in 2018.

Theatre president Brett Batterson said in a statement to the New York Times that the decision was not taken lightly.

“The recent screening of Gone With the Wind at the Orpheum on Friday 11 August generated numerous comments,” he said.

The Orpheum carefully reviewed all of them. As an organisation 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.

The film was shown at the Orpheum on 11 August, coincidentally on the same night of the Charlottesville white supremacist march.

This was the 34th straight year the film was screened at the theatre but this year it prompted a greater negative reaction than in previous years.

Gone With the Wind tells the story of the daughter of a Georgia plantation owner during and after the Civil War. It won eight Oscars including Best Picture.

Hattie McDaniel won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as house slave Mammy in the film, making her the first African-American Oscar winner.

In an interview with the Memphis Commercial Appeal, Batterson said the decision was made before the violence in Charlottesville but was influenced by reaction on social media.

“This is something that’s been questioned every year, but the social media storm this year really brought it home,” Batterson said.

- With reporting by Associated Press

Read: Donald Trump has given a full pardon to a sheriff convicted of racial profiling >

Read: Trump administration science envoy resigns over white supremacist controversy >

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Rónán Duffy

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