The board of directors of the Orpheum Theatre Group in Memphis, Tennessee has decided to end a 34-year tradition of screening “Gone with the Wind” because the board says the movie is now “insensitive.”
Board members announced the plan to remove the 1939 epic from The Orpehum’s 2018 summer movie series on Friday, reports Memphis CBS affiliate WREG-TV.
“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,” board members said in a statement.
“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 statement also said.
The Orpheum — a 2,308-seat theater in downtown Memphis — held its final screening of “Gone with the Wind” on Aug. 11.
Since the early 1980s, the Orpheum has generated massive amounts of revenue showing the 238-minute epic about the complex love life of a plantation owner’s daughter during the Civil War era.
In previous years, the Orpheum showed “Gone with the Wind” very frequently. In 1999, for instance, the theater showed the movie four times during a single week, notes The Memphis Commercial Appeal.
The nonprofit theater organized memorabilia displays and brought in actors who played minor roles in the Oscar-winning MGM film to promote its “Gone with the Wind” showings.
The Orpheum’s final screening of “Gone with the Wind” on Aug. 11 “generated numerous comments,” the statement by the board of directors notes.
The 2018 schedule of summer movies will feature classic films — but not “Gone with the Wind” — as well as some newer blockbuster flicks.
“Gone with the Wind” comes up sporadically in the news because critics believe showing — or even improperly discussing — the movie is a form of racism.
In 2015, for example, the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, which claims to represent more than 500 college-based writing programs, kicked a renowned poet off a planning committee because she was posting the text of the novel “Gone with the Wind” on Twitter in continuous, 140-character increments. (RELATED: Poet Fired For Tweeting ‘Gone With The Wind’ Line By Line Because RACISM)