April Reign leads a boycott against the problematic HBO show ‘Confederate’

New York Premiere  of "Game of Thrones"

Less than two weeks ago, HBO announced that Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and DB Weiss were going to executive produce another show for the network. The show is called Confederate, and it is one of those alternate-history science-fiction high-concept pieces, wherein the show will be set in an America where the Confederacy won the Civil War, and the South became their own independent – and still slave-holding – nation. Ever since the show was announced, there has been a lot of backlash, mostly because the show seems like white-supremacy p0rn. Benioff and Weiss tried to talk their way out of the controversy, and HBO has been doing damage control for more than a week. Over the weekend, April Reign – the creator of #OscarsSoWhite – called for a #NoConfederate movement, wherein organizers hope that HBO will simply abandon plans for the show.

Following a massive social media campaign urging HBO to abandon its upcoming slave drama Confederate, the premium cable network has responded to the outcry.

“We have great respect for the dialogue and concern being expressed around Confederate. We have faith that [writers] 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,” the premium cable network said in a statement Sunday.

The campaign, organized by April Reign, creator of the #OscarsSoWhite outcry, urged viewers to tweet #NoConfederate during Sunday’s episode of HBO’s Game of Thrones in a bid to send a message to the cabler that their subscribers don’t want to see a show that explores slavery in any sense. By the end of Game of Thrones’ East Coast broadcast, #NoConfederate had reached No. 1 in the U.S. and No. 2 worldwide among Twitter’s trending topics.

“What confidence should we have in two gentlemen who can’t talk about race on their own show and have had seven seasons to introduce significant characters of color?” Reign told The Hollywood Reporter. The series was met with a very vocal outcry to its central premise. Benioff, Weiss and the Spellmans defended the forthcoming show in an interview shortly after the backlash.

[From The Hollywood Reporter]

While Benioff and Weiss are white dudes who are very white-privilege-y about conversations involving race, it is worth noting that African-American husband and wife writing team Malcolm Spellman and Nichelle Tramble Spellman will be writing the series and executive producing. While I don’t have faith in Benioff and Weiss’s sensitivities towards this subject matter, I thought the Spellmans would bring something interesting to the table. Now, all that being said… HBO looks really foolish and tone-deaf to continue in this vein considering the backlash. No amount of nothing-to-see-here statements from HBO’s whitesplainers is going to put this particular genie back in the bottle. HBO either needs to address this head-on, comprehensively, possibly by hiring April Reign, Roxane Gay and other black cultural/historical leaders as consultants, OR HBO just needs to pull the plug on the show.

Photos courtesy of Getty, WENN.

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179 Responses to “April Reign leads a boycott against the problematic HBO show ‘Confederate’”

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  1. Nicole says:

    I mean having a black writing team does not mitgste the issue. Why do we need to revisit slavery when we live in modern day slavery now? The system is set up as a modern day slavery. Prison systems, bail systems, police brutality these are all very real. We don’t need this show.
    It doesn’t affect the white show runners because it’s not their reality.
    Also once again black women coming through with the boycotts and organizing. Y’all should follow april on twitter

    • Jamie42 says:

      Really insightful comment that clarified for me what feels wrong with this show: it treats racial discrimination as something within the science fictional/alternative history realm and not as something we need to address head-on in the here and now.

      • Megan says:

        @Nicole and @Jamie 42 +1,000

        How the hell does something like this get green lighted?

      • Jay (the Canadian one) says:

        Thinking science fiction is almost always a vehicle for commentary on real-world issues. For example Alien Nation being an allegory for racism and immigration.

        If anything the concept of this show doesn’t abstract the allegory enough to detach it from preconceptions the viewer will bring. It’s a dangerous gamble, to be sure. They could, in theory, pull off something positive here but it’s a delicate operation that could more likely go wrong than not. Certainly it’s not a measured nuance that, even if it’s there, will ever come across in a one-sentence description.

        The only thing I keep thinking of is the knee jerk outrage over the Westworld casting call for extras: people naked to act as furniture, basically. Those who objected called it basically depraved p*rn. Turns out it was a little more nuanced. So it’s possible.

      • onTheFence says:

        Also we are living the reality of a “what if?” America. Donny was not supposed to get hired- you can say the Russians “didn’t change any votes”. We can’t prove that just yet- but Russian propaganda flooded xenophobic America- this CERTAINLY-changed the way those people voted. We -WERE- freeing the slavery of misogyny w our 1st woman president . Now we occupy a real life “what if” of a fascist administration ruling the free world. So the “confederates” is ugly- and an heinous project- but it’s also too close to “home” for now. Was that the purpose? To mirror the horror of today??

    • Jamie says:

      don’t we have a show about what is hilter won? I have never seen it but have heard that it was quite good…

      I mean i don’t see why they can’t make a good movie about slavery and point out why it’s bad.

      • Pineapple says:

        I thought about that too – the Hitler won theme is being explored and people take it for what it is, art.
        That being said, this country has a long way to go to get to even some resemblance of society where black people are respected and valued as are whites. So I can understand how it is a very painful subject.

      • Nicole says:

        The difference is clear: Germany treats its WWII history as something to learn from and to move on. There’s no statues to Nazis in Germany. There’s statues to victims. People aren’t setting up restaurants in old concentration camps.
        In the US people hold onto slavery relics as if it’s heritage to be proud of. We have buildings named after slave owners. We have KKK members in our police, jails and court systems. You have people like Blake Lively who would LOVE to return to the antembellum period. Plantations are places to visit with restaurants and cute clothes. We are still LIVING with slavery. We still have people obessed with the period of slavery. This show will be a white supremacists dream.
        The difference is how countries treat these two moments in history.

      • Annetommy says:

        The Man In the High Castle. It was good.

      • MyHiddles says:

        Yes, but ask modern day Germans and Jews how they feel about it.

      • Megan says:

        I have not seen Man in the High Castle, but I assume it deals with a totalitarian regime, which is a real world scenario today. The problem with Confederate is that western democracies would not tolerate America as a slave so there are no “what if” scenarios. Much like apartheid-ear South Africa, the US would have been isolated by other world powers until it ended slavery.

        Since “what if” scenarios aren’t plausible, this is nothing more than racist p0rn for white supremacists.

        I love GOT, but not enough to pay for this crap.

      • Sixer says:

        What Nicole said.

        I can actually imagine a really good black liberationist take on this concept. Sadly, this is not it and the United States is not ready.

      • magnoliarose says:

        I think the show is good. Man in the High Castle isn’t glorifying or normalizing the world without Jews. It isn’t traumatizing at all or offensive. It probably wouldn’t have been acceptable to create until now. If it were 1950 then it would have been too much. I know a lot of Jewish people who watch it and sometimes the conversations about it are rather funny. Because my family’s looks don’t fit the stereotype we found ourselves having a bizarre conversation at a family gathering. My cousin said I would be the first to go. Look at me. No way I am not a Jew. Magnolia you look Aryan so they wouldn’t get you but you would be obligated to work undercover to subvert the plan. It went like that until we were screaming with laughter as it took on a life of its own.
        Germans don’t pretend it never happened and they don’t pretend it wasn’t horrific. I can have open conversations with Germans and it doesn’t feel awkward. Germans own it and don’t flinch from it.

        Now, this show is a big hell no. No no no. In the other show we are mostly already gone but in this show, we would have to watch black people being enslaved. I am not part of an oppressed minority but this country treats black people shamefully right now. They are still denied rights and targeted unfairly. They are still enslaved in a corrupt justice system.
        Every level of this country is steeped in racism and bigotry even though it was built on the backs of slaves and the slaughter of Native Americans. There is a load of shame to be had but America, for the most part, will not confront it. The whole rebel flag fight would be like Germans fighting to wear swastikas. Our Attorney General would be named after one of the famous generals.
        April Reign should not have to do this. The show shouldn’t have even been considered. All of us should join and say No. It is a racial issue but it is also a humanity issue. If they go ahead I am canceling HBO.

      • Otaku Fairy says:

        Great point, Nicole. There are already books and movies out there that portray slavery, but a ‘what if the Confederacy had won and slavery was still here’ show really doesn’t feel like something America needs, especially right now, for some of the reasons you mentioned. The concept plus the timing seems tone-deaf, even if their intention isn’t to make Deplorable Pr0n.

      • Imqrious2 says:

        A commercial for Man In the High Castle came on while I was watching t.v. with my dad, a Holocaust survivor who lost almost all of his family (close and extended) to the Nazis. He said, “They have to make another war movie?” I couldn’t switch channels fast enough. I just said yes, and wouldn’t tell him what it really was about. He still gets occasional nightmares, even now, almost 70 yrs. later.

    • HH says:

      As an American, I feel like we’re oddly preoccupied with the civil war and WWII. I’m not saying we should forget this history, but we seem obsessed with those two specific periods.

      • jetlagged says:

        Well, they were the two conflicts where the most Americans perished, by quite a wide margin. Shouldn’t we be preoccupied about two events where hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens lost their lives?

      • Lynnie says:

        WWII is because it’s one big circle jerk and arguably the best example of the “American exceptionalism” mindset the country has always had and loves to talk about.

        The Civil War is, because as someone mentioned earlier, the US never fully acknowledged just how harmful and pervasive slavery was in our culture after it “ended.” There’s a whole lot of “what if?” scenarios being asked on both sides and a subset of the population justifiably angry that a huge part of their suffering is glossed over. The key to getting closure is self-reflection, but unfortunately the country has been too immature to have a mature discussion on what really went down for so long. As long as it’s still the elephant in the room there’ll be tension.

    • adastraperaspera says:

      Bingo. What would really be creative is a show that envisions our country without white supremacy at all.

      • Justjj says:

        Now that would be amazing to watch. A show or movie where the framers were people of color and white people held no significance in public life or were held as slaves, servants and a mass workforce for the sole benefit of people of color; or US history was reimagined as respecting indigenous people and women from the beginning and the government was always run by people of color, with society much more advanced in modern times because of this. I would love to see that show. I think that would be truly original. Too bad most white people couldn’t handle watching that for five minutes, let alone live that reality for two seconds. Of all the ways I can think of to re-imagine US history why would you do it this way?

      • wolfpup says:

        Wouldn’t that be so lovely – no racism at all. Where women are seen with fresh eyes of the beauty and loveliness of our skin – I love the beautiful colors of black and brownness. Often, I see a white woman in comparison as sickly. But it is the men who use women to these ends – I see it as an extension of their power. Then there is the fact that many women want to be more beautiful to men, than the other.

        I remember, perhaps when five or six years old 1960/62, watching “Gone With The Wind”. I was a child, yet uninfluenced by markers of status. I was so offended that such a lovable character as “Mamie” was presented as a slave. I have never left that idea of horror. It is terrible and heartbreaking, that the ignoramuses in the US have hijacked such an idea, in terms of human dignity. Hillary did win the majority.

        I did research on these white supremacist organizations – like why??? Why do so many people need to feel better than others – whether it’s the vacations they take, how big their boobs are, or their jewelry. Nat Turner spared the white trash when he took his revenge and bid for freedom. , I’m sure together we could list dozens of reasons to feel better than your fellow. Therefore, I cannot say whether this is merely the human condition, or if peace on earth, good will to all men is possible.

        When a teenager, I wondered when legal pot would change the world for the better than alcohol. It’s happening now. What I wish ever so much more to see before I die, is respect and freedom. I am so sorry that this is unrealized. I want to live in a simple world, where it is easy to care for one another – because rejoicing and doing good is the best life of all.

    • Surely Wolfbeak says:

      Benioff and Weiss have an abysmal record of hiring women and people of color as writers and directors on Game of Thrones. Only four episodes have been directed by women (one woman, actually, Michelle McNamara) and only four episodes have been written or co-written by women. The last three seasons, every episode has been written and directed by white males. Benioff and Weiss will still be the show runners, regardless of who is writing and producing going into this, and I have zero faith in them.

    • Malibu Stacy says:

      This comment is everything. I’d also like to add that a show like this isn’t new or original in any way. Why can’t they think of new shows that don’t have POC suffering? Why not reverse the roles and have white people be enslaved? This whole thing lacks imagination and empathy. I’m sick and tired of seeing POC being abused onscreen for the sake of “art.”

    • Justjj says:

      Yes! Slavery is not in the past or a science fiction dystopian nightmare.

    • Kelly says:

      I wouldn’t say that Germany treats the Holocaust (or World War I for that matter) as something they are still learning from. There are certainly still people who sympathize with Nazis in that country and a lot of white-washing of German history. Jews are still persecuted there to a certain extant as well, it’s certainly not some paradise where everyone accepts what they did in the Holocaust and provides huge reparations to the Jews.

      • sarah says:

        1. it’s World War II (you could argue WWI caused WWII, but Holocaust was WWII)
        2. are you speaking out of experience or where do you get your claims from? (are you German? do you live/have lived in Germany?)
        3. how are Jews still persecuted?
        4. Germany paid reparations (even though many Jews originally weren’t sure if they wanted to take “blood money”) to the Jews and is still paying- until now about $1 billion
        5. you are aware that Jewish is not a race, right? how is German history white washed?
        those are genuine questions, as your comment left me wondering
        lastly: nobody said Germany was “some paradise”
        obviously there are people in Germany that sympathise with Nazis, just like in every country on earth, but exactly because of German history people are much more aware and critical.

    • onTheFence says:

      I’m amazed at what passes through “the idea phase”. Blacks in America are still enslaved by racism. The South continued to degrade with Jim Crow laws well after the civil war. How can this insulting and inane pitch have EVER made it past one comment by some ignorant and insensitive fool.

  2. Lulu says:

    Very disgusted by the premise of the show, but I don’t think a boycott will work because a large section of the population wants this type of media. I think hbo is confident that full on racists and casual racists will supptyje show and then there will be sympathizers who “love the writing” or want to “give it a chance”

    • blogdis says:

      xxx

    • blogdis says:

      Could not get into GOT because once I heard that a fundamental plot line was incest plus there are very often a lot of graphic rape scenes I was out

      Also I get its a dystopian society so if the creators don’t want to include black folks that’s fine but instead from what I hear they ONLY include blacks to show them as slaves . People especially in Hollywood need to understand that slavery is as as old a time , and is many ancient tomes including the bible. All ancient societies Maya’s, Incas , Roman ,Greeks would enslave their conquered foes, the poor , those who owed debt etc. the Transatlantic slave trade was the first that slavery was predicated for generations on skin color only. I’m also looking at you Exodus etc, it’s like if these people set a story about human life found on Mars , the Black folk would have to be the slaves, thieves prisoners etc NOPE

      HBO and these creatives consistently ignored complaints from their fan base about the gratuitous rape scenes so its no surprise that they will ignore this as well as in this climate where many think of that period fondly as the good old days

  3. Sullivan says:

    Shut it down!

  4. Fanny says:

    I am 100% against protesting and boycotting *ideas*. That’s all this show is right now is an idea. You need to let people have free thought and free creativity.

    If the show turns out to be boycott-worthy then I’ll join the boycott, but I am really upset that something is being declared “problematic” before it’s even been created. It might be thought provoking, enlightening, and groundbreaking.

    • Merritt says:

      LMAO. There is nothing groundbreaking about the TV and film industry repeatedly showing that they only want to cast black people as slaves. Unless they are going to in-depth cover the lives of escaped slaves and their lives post slavery. But that won’t happen. Given the rape fest that is GoT, this show will be all about beatings and raping slaves.

      • Lalu says:

        I think they have every right to make this… I just don’t know who would want to watch it.
        As a white southerner, it brings up a time of shame for a place that I love.
        And putting myself in the place of a black American, I would want to see, nor would I want my children to see black people enslaved on the tv as entertainment.
        I don’t think we have to pretend it never happened… I guess I am just naive and wanting us all to move forward in common ground.

    • KJA says:

      A show like this isn’t just an ‘idea’ in this political climate though. White supremacy still being a problem isn’t a fantasy alternative timeline-we’re still living it. If people want to know what would happen if slavery was still legal, Ava Duvernay’s documentary ’13th’ is on Netflix.

      • bread says:

        So you think that “The Handmaid’s Tale”, another what-if timeline, shouldn’t have been produced in this political climate? Because male supremacy is still a problem, women’s bodies are still being policed, and there are many documentaries about women kept captive by men or abortion rights being rolled back.

      • Annetommy says:

        Excellent point bread.

      • KJA says:

        But Confederate isn’t just going to be dystopian fiction-it’s alternative history. An alternative history of events that weren’t that long ago. Frankly, an alternative history that a growing and loud group of people wouldn’t be too opposed to. The impact of those events are still felt.

        They could discuss the issue with nuance and compare and contrast reality with what’s happening in the show. But we know slavery was evil, do we really need this to show us? Is it going to force the people who would actually benefit from it to reconsider and reflect? Or will it be ‘liberal propaganda’?

        I’ll be honest, I don’t know how I feel about a boycott. I want to reserve judgment, but it just doesn’t sit well. I do know that HBO has an immense amount of money to make amazing shows. What does it say that the show they have that will probably be one of the largest opportunities for black actors will be slavery fanfiction?

    • Tania says:

      Let’s be against the idea that women have freedom of choice.

      Let’s be against the idea that people can’t love who they love.

      Let’s be against the idea that all men are created equal.

      I am 100% the idea that ideas aren’t action for a greater ideology that further marginalizes and minimizes everyone’s ability to live freely.

      I mean the holocaust started out as an idea. The attempted cultural genocide of Indigenous populations started as an idea.

      • Fanny says:

        I am not talking about ideas like the holocaust, I am talking about an idea for a television show.

        Bread hit the nail on the head – dystopian narratives exist to illuminate how we live now. They can be good, bad or indifferent depending on how well they are done.

        I think this is the ultimate censorship to shut down a television show under the assumption that it will be racist when it hasn’t even been created yet.

    • jc126 says:

      Yes, I totally agree with Fanny. Boycotting a show when you have NO idea how the storyline is going to go? Maybe it’s all about the slaves overthrowing the Confederacy, I doubt it’s just going to be about day to day life under slavery.
      Trying to bully artists/writers or networks into not writing something or not airing a show really bothers me – how is it any different than when religious conservatives want to ban books or only have textbooks that parrot their point of view? How is it different than Disney-izing history? If a show/book/movie is offensive, let it fail on its own, don’t try to silence people. I think when you try to silence people’s viewpoints, however idiotic, you just given them credibility in a sense.

    • Goats on the Roof says:

      Fanny, I’m with you. The idea we must silence ideas or rail against them before they’ve even come to fruition is extremely upsetting to me. It’s a kind of censorship to me and I want no part of it.

      • Merritt says:

        Amazing how once again, you have railed against the pain associated with racism.

      • Goats on the Roof says:

        Excuse me? You must have me confused with someone else to make this kind of comment.

      • Merritt says:

        Nope, you’re the exact same person who claimed that whitesplaining is not real and that ignorant white celebs and others who wear blackface should be forgiven.

      • Goats on the Roof says:

        I said the term “whitesplaining” is used all too often to shut down conversation, and I stand by that. Just like people use slut-shaming or mom-shaming entirely too often. People don’t want to have discussions anymore, they just want people to agree or zip it.

        I also said holding the black face incident against Juliane Hough when she did it once years ago and apologized was unforgiving and not a way i would want to live, and I stand by that too. I don’t understand a world where a person’s mistakes must be held against them always and for all time. Let people learn and grow, is what I said.

        If you’re going to throw past comments in my face, you could at least have the decency to get them right.

      • Merritt says:

        I did get it right. You want to complain about whitesplaining, slut shaming, etc when it is mentioned in response to something you said or something that you agree with. Which is pretty typical.

        Julianne Hough gave a non-apology for her choice to wear blackface.
        And it is a bit rich to whine about deliberate choices that white people make haunting them forever. Because nothing bad happened to Julianne following her blackface moment. She was given a judge position on DWTS and continues to get press for her boring wedding/honeymoon. She just issued a non-apology and was given a pass because she is a basic white woman.

        Meanwhile black kids and adults are brutalized everyday for merely existing.

      • Goats on the Roof says:

        Her statement from way back when:
        “I am a huge fan of the show ‘Orange is the New black,’ actress Uzo Aduba, and the character she has created. It certainly was never my intention to be disrespectful or demeaning to anyone in any way. I realize my costume hurt and offended people and I truly apologize.”

        In what what is this a non-apology? I don’t know why I’m wasting my time actually. You have your mind made up and don’t want to hear what anyone who may disagree has to say.

      • Merritt says:

        1. She passes the buck on responsibility.

        2. It feigns ignorance. Any adult should known that blackface was offensive.

        3. She has continued to be mean to POC on DWTS. If she had been sincere in her apology and had learned anything from the blackface insident, she would not be acting that way.

        4. I’m tired of the argument that POC have to accept this racist garbage and see things from the point of view of racists.

      • magnoliarose says:

        I just want to point out that everyone with a brain cell knows blackface is racist. Unless she was raised in a cave she should have known better. Sometimes apologies feel sincere and sometimes a person doesn’t want to accept it.

      • Merritt says:

        You might be willing to see the apology as sincere if her behavior had changed. But her treatment of POC continues to be abysmal. Which tells me that she was basically reading a statement that her PR team wrote.

    • Tania says:

      @Merritt, it’s really astounding in this day and age that people get upset about what upsets other people who are marginalized, victimized and oppressed because they want to watch it on a TV show.

      I give up on this thread altogether. They’ll get their show because it’ll make the deep south raise their confederate flag and say, “see the perfect world could have existed like this.”

      How about a show about Indigenous Americans taking in white slaves when they came ashore? How about a show about white women being house slaves. Imagine the rallying cry of the disenfranchised and put upon most suffered people of all: white americans. This is exactly how drumpf became president.

    • BorderMollie says:

      It’s not really the idea that’s bothersome to me, it’s the producers and network. HBO has a history of showing graphic violence, often against women and minorities, and claiming they’re actually subverting those things when it’s clear many who watch the scenes enjoy (even revel in) the violence and racism. Their claim of being subversive then just seems like an excuse. If Ava Duvernay was handling this concept on Amazon Prime I wouldn’t make a peep.

    • detritus says:

      Isn’t that the time to argue against them?
      Before time money sweat and tears have been put into bringing a hurtful concept to fruition? Before people become emotionally invested?

      It is the most efficient time and place to argue against silly ideas, before they are started.

    • Horse Marine says:

      I agree with you, essentially. But considering this is CB, you’ll be dragged to high heavens.

      I’ll give the show a chance because the Spellmans are involved. The subject matter is highly delicate, though. Let us hope it is treated with respect and sensitivity.

    • Kelly says:

      Totally agree Fanny, was going to say something similar but you laid it out great.

    • Otaku Fairy says:

      Part of fighting how a group of people is treated often, if not always, involves some form of protest or railing against certain ideas about that group of people too. I agree that you kind of have a good point with the Handmaid’s tale comparison though Fanny. But some of the others already brought out the point that before it was a show it was already a feminist book and written by a woman- the oppressed class in the story (although Handmaid’s tale has gotten criticism about intersectionality) and was pre-Trump. I hope they address the issues in this show with sensitivity and that it doesn’t become what it can easily become for the alt-right. But protesting ideas is also a part of free thought and creativity.

  5. Merritt says:

    This show needs to be scrapped. But HBO has show itself to be more than willing to side with racists, so I don’t see that happening.

  6. bread says:

    I really can’t see how this idea is different from the Handmaid’s Tale – both take their inspiration from the most extreme suppression of black people/women in general that history has to offer and bring it into a society that we can recognise.

    And anyway, I think it’s bullshit to encourage a boycott of a show when you don’t know how they’re going to execute that idea.

    • Merritt says:

      1. The Handmaid’s Tale was written by a woman and written from the perspective of the oppressed group. This show was developed by white men who have a history of gratuitous violence and rape in their current show GoT.

      2. Nothing about the show description suggests that this show will be anything other than an alt-right fantasy.

      • bread says:

        It says in the article that the series will be written by a black woman and black man.

        And you’re still only critizing the idea, not the finished product.

      • HK9 says:

        It doesn’t matter that a black writing team is going to do it. (It actually makes it worse) These two black writers currently live and work in a country where both of them could be killed tomorrow by the police solely based on the colour of their skin. I know that and so do those writers. These ‘ideas’ are peoples every day experience in America. And by the way, we live in a place where we can criticize an idea-especially if it’s a bad one and this, is a bad idea.

      • Merritt says:

        @bread

        Problematic ideas can be criticized. And there is nothing to indicate that these writers won’t “Uncle Tom” for the purpose of having a job.

      • Nev says:

        @HK9

        Yes and then those same police laugh at you. Ughhhhhhhhhhhh

      • bread says:

        @ HK9 and Merritt: Please don’t try to make it sound like I’m stopping you from critizing the plans for this series. I’m making a counter-argument, not silencing you.

        And I only mentioned that the writers were black because it was important to Merritt that the story was “written from the perspective of the oppressed group”. But when that fact is pointed out, these writers become Uncle Toms (by the way, in the book Uncle Tom is beaten to death because he won’t tell a slaver the whereabouts of other escaped slaves – doesn’t sound like someone who’s a collaborator with the white suppressors)

      • Merritt says:

        @bread

        Just because two black writers are currently involved, doesn’t mean those tow people will be the only writer for the show or that they will stay involved.

      • Ravine says:

        OK, but Merritt, so what? You could say the same thing about Benioff and Weiss, no? What does this conjecture accomplish?

    • Tania says:

      “And anyway, I think it’s bullshit to encourage a boycott of a show when you don’t know how they’re going to execute that idea.”

      Are you posting under multiple handles? Because I saw a similar comment above by someone with all lowercase names that makes it look suspicious.

      By saying it’s “bullshit” you’re minimizing people’s feelings. I think it’s bullshit that you think it’s bullshit. See? It discourages the person from voicing their opinion.

      • bread says:

        I’m not posting under multiple handles and I’m not feeling discouraged from voicing my opinion.

    • HK9 says:

      @bread-Look, I get your ‘trying to be fair’ but lets be real. Unless those slaves are going to pull a Cersi and blow up the proverbial Sept, there’s nothing new and exciting except the continued dehumanization and subjugation of black people on screen. Been there done that. And since those black writers are just employees and can be fired at any time there presence is neither here nor there.

      • bread says:

        I totally agree with you that too many stories about black people revolve around slavery, reducing the black characters to victims or survivors.

        That’s why I’m happy seeing movies like “Girls Trip” doing so well with reviewers and audiences. Maybe that one and “Get Out” will encourage producers to branch out more when it comes to black people’s stories.

    • detritus says:

      Handmaids Tale was already proven to be handled in a positive and sensitive light by its author, whereas this is a brand new story. A brand new story from a set of producer/diretors that have not previously shown sensitivity to certain subjects, and are certainly not part of the communities.

      It doesn’t mean they are incapable of handling things with the delicate touch required to make sure this doesn’t come across as glorifying a time period America already has issues glorifying, but it does make it increasingly unlikely.

      When a large portion of the country has voted for someone who espouses, loudly too, racist and ignorant opinions about PoC, this can very easily come across as a wet dream for the alt-right, or if handled ham-fistedly a propaganda piece for how PoC ‘deserve’ to be treated.

      A great idea is both well thought out and well-timed. The is not the time for two white men to create a a piece on the impacts of slavery. Not with such a resurgence of bigotry in the national rhetoric.

  7. Nev says:

    Ughhhhhhhhh. Cancel it already.

  8. poorlittlerichgirl says:

    It’s a work of fiction. What is everyone afraid of about this show? What do you think will happen if it airs? An evil uprising of white supremacists will take over the South to reinstate slavery? I’m sincerely asking.
    I know there might be people (even a large group of people) that find this idea offensive but does mean that it shouldn’t air? Should everything that could be deemed offensive never see the light of the day or be boycotted? If that was the case, there wouldn’t be much tv to choose from and many of the current highly rated tv shows would have never seen the light of day.

    • Merritt says:

      No, you not sincerely asking. Because it should be common sense to understand why people would be alarmed. And in a climate where people already are emboldened to commit hate crimes, I don’t think their ultimate fantasy should be a TV show.

    • HK9 says:

      If you really want to know, read a book called The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander. That is a credible source for facts and will explain why this is not fiction but people’s current reality. I know it’s not the quick fix you were probably looking for but it will answer all of your questions.

      Lets be clear-no one is afraid of the show. People are fed up with the corporations profiting off the current suffering of others. Especially when these “ideas” are currently happening to people all day every day.

      • poorlittlerichgirl says:

        HK9, thank you for your recommendation and for your mature response. I genuinely appreciate it. I will read the book so I have a better understanding.

    • Tania says:

      Why not develop a show about the alternate reality where white people are enslaved in a “confederate” setting. Let’s see the uproar then!

      • Annetommy says:

        I would watch that show Tania.

      • poorlittlerichgirl says:

        I would totally watch that. I think it would give great perspective and offer insight to white people about how absolutely wrong slavery is and why POC shouldn’t have to “just let it go”. Sometimes people have to see it in their face to get a good, hard grasp of something. I would be all for it! If you have connections in the entertainment industry, you should pitch your idea. Seriously. Make it happen.

      • Lalu says:

        Didn’t john travolta do a movie like that in the ’90′s? Will have to google. We rented it, I think.

      • Lalu says:

        White man’s burden in 95. I don’t remember much about it.

      • Onemoretime says:

        We’ve already seen the outrage from the other side when Dear White People aired on Netflix. How non people of color were highly offended! And the show is about how African Americans deal with racist micro aggressions daily! Others calling it reverse racist and so on.
        Just proves that show is neede and some of you on this thread need to watch, because if you want to African Americans to have a wait & see attuide and don’t have a problem with this show being made is baffeling to me.
        Trotting our few black writes is the same as saying or doing something offensive and saying I can’t be racist see I have a black friend. You can have black friends or date, marry an African American and still be racist. It’s 2018 lay off the slavery movies and shows. When African Americans speak up about slavey others are quick to say that was a long time ago or that was my ancestors or let it die. But let’s make a show about and not complain about it. Yeah that’s a NO & like I said I will cancel my subscription and never subscribe again!!

      • Alexandria says:

        I would watch it too.

      • Sixer says:

        They could buy the rights to the Noughts and Crosses series by Malorie Blackman.

    • Veronica says:

      The uprising is already occurring. We literally have a president in office that was backed by white supremacist groups.

      • poorlittlerichgirl says:

        I understand what you’re saying but do you really think he will be successful with his uprising? Trump is against everything I personally stand for and he makes a complete fool of himself everyday. If that’s the man leading the uprising then I suspect it will all come falling down before he even gets it started. He can’t even keep his own people in the White House b/c of all this madness he created. I don’t think he is capable of causing anything too serious or lasting because frankly, he is too immature and dumb to make anything stick. Plus, he is losing more supporters everyday b/c they are finally realizing what a huge mistake they made in voting him into the White House. I miss the Obamas so much.

      • Veronica says:

        Yes, he absolutely could. Because while he’s distracting us all with his foolishness, his party majority is forcing the rest of us to stick our heels in the dirty and keep things from pushing backwards while the way forward stagnates. He is undermining democracy by casting doubt on the election and legislative process. He’s actively voicing racist, sexist, and transphobic ideas that embolden people across the country to quit the pretense of equality and cast themselves as the “real” victims of a diverse society, using minorities as their rallying point. He supports a system upheld by a majority white and majority male party that is seeing their power erode as demographics shift. I don’t underestimate him. We would do well to remember that nobody took Hitler seriously at first, either.

      • poorlittlerichgirl says:

        You put that in a great perspective for me. I’m honestly holding on to the what I expressed in my comment b/c it is one of the only things keeping me sane during his administration.

      • Veronica says:

        I do prefer to think that our efforts to fight back will prevent history from repeating itself. But I was naïve enough to think enough people knew better than to put Donald Trump in office, so now *I* know better and am trying to be realistic about what could happen if I’m not wary.

      • Asiyah says:

        Yes, poorlittlerichgirl, because White Supremacy is still the norm.

  9. BlueSky says:

    Ahh, the old “but we have black writers”
    excuse. This does not surprise me in this day and age that something this stupid would get greenlit. Let me tell you how it’s going to go down:1) black people are actually happy and treated well as slaves.
    2) Slavery really is not as bad as it seems
    3) Slave owner/slave “love story”

    I’m so glad I don’t have HBO because I would cancel my subscription.

    • detritus says:

      Thats what I think would happen too.
      Or it focuses on the ‘conflicted’ slave owner, who comes to the realizaiton his slaves are tuly people in their own right. This slave owner probably has a conflict with the truly evil REAL slave owner to drive home that hes just a victim of the times or some crap.

  10. Alexandria says:

    Personally I feel this story needs to be told and criticized thereafter, especially because the writers are black and it really sounds interesting. Why bring GoT into this? Does that mean all of their shows would be like GoT? Give it a chance and then burn it down if it’s bad. If it’s well written, it’s a chance for white supremacists to have revelations on how horrible it would be to be in such a scenario. Can I have this opinion and also think #oscarssowhite is valid? My one reservation about this is that it’s another story having to depict black people as slaves. So I really hope it’s done superbly. What if supporting it (if it’s done well) is also giving support to the two writers in an industry that’s so white?

    • Merritt says:

      Wishful thinking. White supremacists are rarely capable of the type of reflection you describe. The only times you ever see white supremacists changing their thinking is when it involves a POC sacrificing themselves for the white person.

      • Alexandria says:

        Meritt, good and fair point, and as an outsider I’m being optimistic in giving it a chance. I would also acknowledge that even though the story’s premise is intriguing, this project gives yet another signal that only slavery shows are greenlit.

  11. Tess says:

    Having black writers is a start but um the whole “Uncle Tom” thing is a thing, there can be black people that are willing to serve an exclusively white agenda. I agree that hiring her as a consultant would be a start. But honestly with the current administration and BLM this just feels um..tone deaf maybe? Awkward? Out of place? Is there ever a good time for this series? Probably not. But at the same time, it’s fiction, and there’s a possibility that treading very carefully it can be done, I just have no idea how and I doubt they do either.

  12. adastraperaspera says:

    I’m with April on this one. Every time I leave my house I see at least one confederate flag on a bumper sticker, flying from someone’s truck or house, etc. I hate it, but living in the south means that this kind of hateful expression is everywhere. Giving racists a television show with multiple variations of their precious flag in every scene will thrill them, not to mention how much they will like seeing blacks in chains (as if we don’t see that enough with the prison roadside cleanup crews here…). If these writers are so interested in envisioning what it would look like if the white supremacists won the south, they should just move down south and live it.

    • MellyMel says:

      “If these writers are so interested in envisioning what it would look like if the white supremacists won the south, they should just move down south and live it.” Boom! This all day! It’s not hard to envision it when you live down here and see how some of these ppl still act like the South didn’t lose.

  13. Radley says:

    I can’t hate on it since I haven’t seen it. I’m not sure what the tone will be or how characters will be portrayed, true enough. But I can say I’m not at all interested in seeing it. No. I don’t need it in my life. Big time pass.

  14. rebelphoenix13 says:

    There is a book that has almost exactly the same concept, and it was highly acclaimed. Underground Airlines by Ben Winters, a book written by a white man with the point of view of a black man. There was very little backlash on that, so why is there backlash on this? The book was not that good either (I thought itt was boring and took me FOREVER to get through it). I’m honestly asking!!

    “Confederate” plot: alternate-history science-fiction high-concept pieces, wherein the show will be set in an America where the Confederacy won the Civil War, and the South became their own independent – and still slave-holding – nation. Ever since the show was announced, there has been a lot of backlash, mostly because the show seems like white-supremacy p0rn.

    Underground Airlines, by Ben Winters plot (via Wikipeida): Underground Airlines is a 2016 novel by Ben Winters which is set in a contemporary alternate-history United States where the American Civil War never occurred because Abraham Lincoln was assassinated prior to his 1861 inauguration and a version of the Crittenden Compromise was adopted instead. As a result, slavery has remained legal in the “Hard Four” (a group of southern states which have kept slavery): Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and a unified Carolina.

    • Veronica says:

      1. We’re in the middle of a civil rights backlash that culminated in a president backed by white supremacists. He literally put an attorney general in power that was so racist even the Texas court systems wouldn’t have him.

      2. The novel wasn’t well known enough to draw the kind of attention this show is. HBO is a popular network with a huge media reach. It has the potential to impact far more people.

      3. It ignores the reality SLAVERY IS STILL LEGAL IN THE UNITED STATES AS PUNISHMENT FOR A CRIME. What exactly do they think the prison industrial complex is? Why do you think blacks and minorities have historically been the victims of higher conviction rates and harsher sentencing? Do they really think the war on drugs was about public welfare?

      4. Ultimately, both are really gross because those stories should not be told by white people. Frankly, the fact that they think slavery is something that needs “revisited” is everything you need to know about it. We still have legal slavery and civil rights violations going on today, and beyond that, there are plenty of stories that can be told about minorities that don’t have to involve the inherent evil of racism. It would be far more radical at this point to write a story about how much better, brighter, and incredible America would be if we’d never commoditized human beings or treated them as subhuman entities that had nothing to contribute to society. Brown people deserve to be more than a blight on our history where white people can co-opt their stories and write masturbatory “what-if” dramas about their suffering.

      • Lalu says:

        Veronica… I don’t think anyone should compare criminals doing time in jail for committing crimes with slavery.
        The people brought here as slaves shouldn’t be put in the same categories as law breakers. Their plight deserves better treatment than that. That actually makes me sick. Only in America in this day and age would someone make that comparison.

      • eto says:

        Lalu, considering the corruption of the justice system and the police, I would make the comparison. Please look up Kalief Browder and know that his case is not unique.

      • Veronica says:

        They are absolutely comparable. That is exactly how the South continued slavery in everything but name following the ratification of the 13th Amendment. Look up the history of vagrancy laws and how they were used to target blacks. (Short version: It was horrifying, and our government knew about it and did NOTHING because the Southern agricultural industry was basically built around it.) Look up the history of how police used rape as an intimidation and retaliatory tactic against black women. Look up Jim Crow. Look up forced sterilization of black and Native American women. Read about the drug war and the damage it’s done to black communities. Look up the three strikes law and what demographics primarily suffered under it. Look up the school to prison pipeline. Understand that the prison industrial complex is a very real thing that is gaining power even today. Do you realize that you live in a country where jails are privately owned and used to generate profit? What do you think that does to incentivize the criminal system? Do you think it might be why America has the highest incarceration rate in the world? What do you think Ava DuVernay’s “The 13th” was about, exactly?

        You’re right that their plight deserved better treatment. They deserved better than a justice system that commoditized, exploited, and destroyed their communities. They deserved better than American history classes covering up the reality of racism in America in the 20th century. Maybe if more white people were aware of the kind of evil we did to African Americans and other POC, we’d be less inclined to dismiss their suffering and pain.

        Edit: I’m also editing this to point out that criminals are also HUMAN BEINGS. Some of them are awful people who deserve to be removed from society…and some of them are people who made mistakes out of desperation or stupidity. I don’t believe they deserve to live in a system where sexual abuse and exploitive labor runs rampant, and that’s exactly where they are. Let me remind you that part of what allowed slavery to exist in a country that believed in the “inalienable” rights of all men was the dehumanization of large swathes of the population due to their skin color. Maybe we should rethink doing the same to people in jail, yeah?

      • Asiyah says:

        It also ignores that the slavery it will address in the show is still very alive and very real all over the world, so it’s not really an alternate reality.

      • Lalu says:

        Nothing that you guys typed makes me change my opinion that it is gross to compare slaves to people who have broken the law. I think it’s strange that anyone would make that connection.
        If there are innocent black people jailed for crimes they didn’t commit… Then no, that is not okay. But most people in jail right now are there because of their own actions and choices.
        The slaves did not have that luxury. They did not have those same choices. It is offensive the compare the two.

      • Lalu says:

        I want to add… Because you guys really did put in a lot of good info and thought into what you posted… That I too am appalled at the fact that more African Americans go to jail and I do agree that it is based on a lot of factors that are not fair such as more likely that live in poverty, single mothers etc. I am appalled that poor kids are stuck in failing schools. And I am appalled that poverty is basically traded like a commodity between our politicians turning us all against one another.
        I am not black and to my knowledge none of my ancestors were slaves so I realize I need to defer to people who have more experience and direct ties to it than I do. And I really hope I didn’t come off as insensitive.
        I just think it was an awful thing and much like when people compare things to the holocaust… I just have a knee jerk reaction. I don’t want those atrocities down played because we compare them to things, that might not be right, but just aren’t the same thing.

      • Veronica says:

        You seem to be under the impression that I’m making this comparison lightly. I am not. I didn’t create that comparison. It’s been examined for years through the lens of social justice and historical reflection; plenty of the criticisms of the modern prison complex have come from the AA community itself. Denying the history or making semantic arguments about the framing of the issue doesn’t change the very real reality of how racism has been built into the structure of our justice system. There are literally mountains of data on the prison industrial complex and how it has adversely affected African Americans in particular. Modern police grew out of slave patrols in the 1800s. I am not saying that the prison industrial complex is the same as 1800s slavery. What I am telling you that you that modern legal slavery is hidden behind the pretense of crime and punishment, and it’s impossible to ignore that the communities it primarily targets are non-white.

        Your choice to remain ignorant on the matter is not going to help anyone, but maybe if you educated yourself more on the issue, you wouldn’t be so concerned about my verbiage and more distressed by the reality of what’s going on in this country. I wasn’t taught this stuff as kid; I had to learn it as an adult. They don’t want us to know about it.

    • poorlittlerichgirl says:

      @Lalu Those were my exact thoughts as well.

      • guys says:

        @poorlittlerichgirl (apt name given your comment) and @Lalu
        1) African Americans and all minority groups are incarcerated at widely disproportionate rates to white people and are given much longer sentences for the same crimes.
        2) Please research the “school to prison” pipeline. Many communities largely ignore their AA populations, which continue to suffer from discriminatory housing/education practices from years ago (owning property is the main source of wealth in this country and many AAs were prohibited from owning or were displaced at towns’ behest and majority AA school districts are often terribly underfunded and studies have shown that AA kids receive harsher punishments for the same infractions in school, which is obviously disheartening). Kids grow up with no education prospects and turn to crime because the jobs they are qualified for don’t pay a living wage.
        3) After people are incarcerated, they work for pennies on the dollar to produce many of the “MADE IN USA” products that we love to patriotically use. When I was in New Orleans, I was shocked to learn that the overpriced Whole Foods products were harvested at Angola prison for 3 cents an hour. Slavery in everything but the name. For reference, 1 minute of a phone call back home is like 10 bucks.

        In terms of developed nations, America is one of the worst at this. So yes, only in America in this day and age would someone make this comparison.

      • poorlittlerichgirl says:

        @guys, I would have read your comment and taken it to heart if you had not started out with such an immature comment about my username. You lost all credibility with that. Try a more mature approach the next time you try to educate someone.

      • eto says:

        a slick little side comment made you ignore @guys whole comment? pls try to look past it, the content is good.

      • guys says:

        @poorlittlerichgirl Everything I said is factual and credible, so one “insult” shouldn’t negate my “credibility.” I don’t know if you actually are a “poor little rich girl”–it was a throwaway comment on my part, which I recognize is still rude. I’m sorry that my comment hurt you and that it precludes you from taking what I said seriously; it’s all very real. Tbh I think actually quite immature of you to not be able to look past a negative comment in order to gain some perspective on the privilege/ignorance (I don’t mean that as an insult) that your original comment betrays. Given the gravity of the issue, your response seems petulant and actually buttresses the thought process behind my dumb little jab. That being said, you seem thoughtful/open-minded based on your other comments, so good on you!

      • poorlittlerichgirl says:

        @guys, Your comment didn’t hurt me and I didn’t take it personally but it definitely did make me not care about the content of the rest of your comment. I didn’t even read it. Many (not all) people would completely shut down any sort of dialogue that starts with an offhanded comment aimed at them for no good reason. I always try to be a very thoughtful/open minded person and I’m grateful to you for recognizing that. I’m also stubborn at times in case you couldn’t tell. ;) I hope your comment helps others in whatever form you meant it to.

  15. Vovicia says:

    As if a show that portrays such horrible aspects of humanity necessarily has to exploit it, or simply be a beacon to those that would support it. Yeah – like the film 1984 – total dictatorship porn. I think people should just wait and see what is produced before they start criticizing it.

  16. Taiss says:

    The same white people who are talking about “I think this story should told then criticized after…” would lose their minds if the story was about black people being owners and whites slaves, Or if Native Americans killing/ raping all your ancestors when they came to America. Let’s see how that you’d want to watch then criticize later.

    As a black woman I’m so over slavery movies, I don’t want to see more black people being beaten, black women being raped, no more black suffering, humiliation and tears, just for entertainment. Let’s face it just like videos of black people being murdered/ beaten by the police, don’t bring awareness to anything but more pain. No new laws, no convictions (yours forefathers are still your heros and bad cops are still free in these streets) and no reparations. Nothing but anger and hurt from black folks And more non black people telling us to get over it. And white psychos missing those dark times and now threatening and even killing black people.

    • Alexandria says:

      At Taiss, if you’re quoting me, I am not white. I am Muslim Asian and I am a minority in my country. Having said that, I’ve said my personal opinion and I will respect your opinion. Because I would not disagree the premise sounds disturbing and even if told well, it could be very painful to see another slavery depiction. I for one, who grew up on a diet of American tv and culture, want to see more diverse stories and minorities. Personally I am just curious how the story is told. If it’s not told at all, fine.

      “would lose their minds if the story was about black people being owners and whites slaves, Or if Native Americans killing/ raping all your ancestors when they came to America. Let’s see how that you’d want to watch then criticize later.” This can be true.

      • Taiss says:

        @ Alexandria yes, you and everyone I’ve seen with the same kind of response.

        Maybe they should make the same movie in some alternative universe where Asians are enslaved, beaten, raped by whites. That sounds very diverse. And maybe I’ll be open minded as you are about this.

        Black ppl are tired of slave movies, especially nowadays in trump’s America. And police brutality, school to prison pipeline, the whole racist system.

        You as non black poc, the least you can do is see our point of view, but open mind and diversity for the win. We don’t like seeing our people enslaved, dirty, humiliated, maybe they should do it to you, white people’s favorite minority group.

      • Alexandria says:

        At Taiss, which Asian race is that, can I ask? That’s interesting. I am Malay, I’ve never realised I am white person’s favourite minority. Anyway, I’ll reiterate your opinion is not invalid. If it’s painful to see yet another depressing depiction of slavery, I’ll accept it. I am one person, I also can’t speak for all Asians from the entire continent, but there are tv shows depicting such abuse from other Asians or our western colonial masters. Not gonna say it’s right or wrong, since all shows are different.

      • MeleeOfSloths says:

        Ftr, I do hope that HBO lets this terrible idea die on the vine. It’s just bad and unnecessary and completely bizarre. You want to know what America would be like with modern day slavery? You don’t have to imagine. Watch the news.

        However, I do have to say @ Taiss, your response to Alexandria is so breathtakingly ignorant that I find myself shaking in surprise. There are myriad books written about white European presence in Asia. Even if you read just one of them, you would quickly discover that a universe where Asians are enslaved, beaten, raped by whites is not an alternative one.

        The sneering dig about being white people’s favourite minority group is just the cherry on your unappetizing sundae.

      • magnoliarose says:

        Taiss Asian people are offended by being called the model minority. Very offended. They don’t like being stereotyped. Saying they have a positive stereotype is offensive. They experience racism. They don’t like being stereotyped as smart because it ignores their hard work and diminishes their successes. It breeds resentment by non-Asians. They are often fetishized.
        I buy Asian beauty products sometimes and I read the review sections by Asians discussing racism after a blogger called them an ugly name and mocked their hair and clothing. Her whole blog was dedicated to reviewing Asian beauty products even though she is white. Her apology was not an apology.
        Racism feels bad

  17. Starbored says:

    I’m more worried about this “alternate history” / speculative fiction show where there was a quasi-religious political take over of the Americas and the new regime has stripped women of their power, their families, their voices. They are regarded as property and are either menial or sexual slaves, well, except a few who have to go along with the whole charade and are traitors to their own gender. I even heard that in the source material, black women are all house slaves. I don’t know what happened to the black men but probably nothing good.

    Now, they say that women are involved with making the show. They even say that the show will “draw a critical eye” to the inequality in our own society and hold a mirror up to the dangers of our current political climate. They are even claiming that the show will serve as a rallying cry for women and start a national dialogue about women’s rights.

    But I know that this is just more white Hollywood male bullshit. They just want to make more shows with women as sex slaves because it gets them off.

    • Veronica says:

      Are you talking about the Handmaiden’s Tale? Because that’s a pretty famous feminist novel written by an fairly outspoken writer. It was meant as a pointed commentary at the kind of women who support the evangelist movement for their own gain while refusing to examine the implications of internalized misogyny. Margaret Atwood wrote that book with the intention of reminding women that their rights are something men will gladly take away if it serves their needs. It’s a call to awareness and a willingness to fight. (Nothing she put in that book is an exaggeration, after all. It’s all historically accurate material.)

      That’s not quite comparable to me because it was written BY a woman who experienced society pre-women’s lib for other women as a warning not to fall into the trap of believing regression wasn’t possible. It’s not two white men co-opting a story written by black writers for their own purposes. There’s a huge difference in discussing prejudice from an “objective” perspective versus reflecting on your actual experience as a minority. Now, whether you feel the same way about the television series is a different story, but the original novel is something I support whole-heartedly as essential reading material. It is the timely reminder that the axe will fall for you soon enough if you stand by while minority and women’s rights are erased – because you were only part of the boy’s club long enough that they could exploit you.

    • Wed says:

      Do you have to be so condescending in your opposition to this boycott?

  18. Lalu says:

    I live in the south and love the south very much. Went to a school that had confederate flags hanging everywhere. Now that I am older, I see how strange the whole conferate flag thing down here is. I think what a lot if people see as possibly racist is just ignorance and tradition.
    I don’t like the idea of the show but if HBO wants to make it… That’s their business. I don’t like the idea that anyone would think that if the south had won the civil war we would still have slaves. I don’t believe that. I think the south was slower to move forward into decency… But we would have gotten there.
    And again, I love the south. But sooo glad we lost that war and hate that Lincoln was shot.

    • Wed says:

      I also live in the South, and I find this statement untrue. There are many people who to this day defend/whitewash the institution of slavery. I still remember being taught in 8th grade history class that “slaves were treated well under slavery/were happy to actually be employed,” with the implication being that Southern black people are unemployed/don’t contribute adequately to society and that slavery was beneficial to them and to the South. Without slavery, many people where I live see no reason to have black people be a part of their lives and they yearn for the glory days of segregation. I was in the 8th grade in 2008, and that year 12 school districts were finally released from their desegregration orders from the US Commission on Civil Rights while 17 remained under them! Including my hometown’s school district. It was really tough being a black kid in a town where many people constantly held onto ideas from the past, most of which centered around the theory of black inferiority. You see a Confederate flag and see “ignorance and tradition” and others rightfully see oppression.

      I’m happy that you live somewhere where you feel that this isn’t an issue, but it is certainly not widely applicable to the South. Happy to have left that place behind, although those ideas are not limited to the South by any means.

      • Veronica says:

        I’m stuck on the part of their comment about the South eventually making it’s way to “decency” without losing the Civil War. I’d love to know at what point they think the South would have been disincentivized to use free human labor when they promptly followed up slavery with the exploitive sharecropping system and the prison industrial complex.

      • Wed says:

        In total agreement! In some ways, it’s self-preservation I think. People think that criticizing slavery means inherently criticizing the South as a whole, which I don’t think is true. They feel attacked over the fact that people condemn the institution/their ancestors, leading people to whitewash history/facts to make claims like the poster did above. It’s really sad.

    • sanders says:

      Didn’t texas higschool text books describe slaves as workers? Didn’t a student’s mother have to get involved to correct this incredibly offensive lie being taught to children? There is a problem when multiple school boards and teachers see no problem in erasing the history of slavery.

    • Lalu says:

      What exactly am I white washing? And self preservation? Wow, guys!
      I feel pretty sure that slavery would be done in the south by now either way because it just no longer would make sense if for no other reason.
      You guys are aware that slavery existed way back before the US ever existed, right?
      Must get heavy for some of you carrying that huge chip on your shoulder. And judging everyone before you even know them.

      • Lynnie says:

        ” They feel attacked over the fact that people condemn the institution/their ancestors, leading people to whitewash history/facts to make claims like the poster did above.”

        Lollllll your comment is the perfect example of the point they were making. Like I don’t even know where to start first because you cycled through the usual rebuttals of “I’m huRT/slavery existed elsewhere guyssss!!1! 😡/Chip on your shoulder” in less than 5 sentences and I still feel the whiplash lmao.

        On a general note I will say this comment is another reason (out of many) why the show should just go away. This country is not informed, ready, and/or WILLING to take off the rose colored glasses needed to actually tackle the subject matter at hand, and the show is only going to exacerbate the misleading attitudes/ideals floating around.

      • Lalu says:

        Still not sure what I am white washing. I am well aware of what happened and don’t deny it. I made the comment that slavery in the south would have long died out by kow even if the south had lost. That is my opinion. That is not me denying anything about what happened.
        I am always surprised at the people who claim to live in the south that act like they are certain the every day people surrounding them would love to see them in chains. I am really sorry if they truly feel that way. I am out living in the world just like everyone else and I do not believe that. I know that I don’t want anyone mistreated… So I assume the majority of other people like me feel the same.
        Maybe I do wear rose colored glasses. I think there is a better way to converse with people than being condescending. That seems like the first resort for some people here that apparently don’t like my opinion on a hypothetical situation.
        I don’t need for you to like me. I was just being honest.

      • lara says:

        Slavery existed long before the USA and still exists under a disguise.
        Your mistake is, that slavery would have died out by itself. Freedom from slavery was usually won by a long hard and often bloody struggle, either war or Revolution. I dont know, if there was ever a Situation where those in power voluntarily gave up their power and their access to free or cheap labour.

  19. CityGirl says:

    This is Disgusting in every possible way. We, both as a nation and as human beings, will never improve race relations and heal centuries of pain with f*ckery like this.
    Can HBO really be that desperate to make money that this is ok?

  20. radio active says:

    Never judge a book by its cover…we all should live that way. So, I’m not going to judge a concept until I watch the show for myself.

  21. Veronica says:

    Oh my God, really? It would be more for prescient to discuss the very real issues we’re facing today.

  22. Jennifer says:

    I stand with the Spellmans. They are thoughtful, educated, Black, and from a family of civil rights legends. Do not underestimate them. Let them create their art.

    • Nicole says:

      I agree with you. I am going to watch and see what the shows is actually about.. More importantly, I want to see how Black people are being portrayed in the series to see if I will be upset. It seems to me that everyone is letting their imagination run wild on what the show could be and arguing that is what the show is… calm down!! Be outraged by all the things that are currently happening in our society. But channel in the right direction- join the NAACP or Southern Poverty law center or the ACLU or a local community group combating theses injustices where you live…Stop taking out your frustrations on a tv show which did not create this claim conditions or can cure them!
      Oh and I am Black and HBCU graduate, so I am well versed in the plight and history of my own people!

    • HK9 says:

      I do not share your optimism. The Spellmans need to know what game they’re playing. They think they do but they don’t. This is not their project. They are writers that can be fired on a whim-and they will be. They are being used to get this project done, and when they have what they want they will be sent on their way. If the Spellmans are anywhere near this project more than a year from now I’ll eat my hat.

  23. It’s a scary topic, but it raises awareness. I would give it a chance before just completely writing it off.

  24. Coco Puff says:

    I’ll wait until I see the show before i start throwing rocks.

  25. Wren33 says:

    Seems like there is a million ways the show could go wrong, but I am not going to light my torch until there is something more concrete.

  26. Sad says:

    It’s always a little disheartening to see the comments on certain articles concerning race on this site. The commenters are normally so open-minded, but not so much on threads like this one. Kaiser has the right idea though, as always. Thank you for always calling out oppression, even when it’s subtle.

    This show is a stupid idea, but I know that HBO will go ahead with it. They are smart, so I’m sure that with all the backlash, they are tweaking a lot of things to make it the least offensive it can possible be given its incendiary subject matter.

    I won’t be watching because I don’t need a TV show or an alternate universe to see black people fighting against oppressive regimes. It’s not an interesting premise, just depressing. I really expected more people on this site to feel the same way.

    • Lynnie says:

      “I really expected more people on this site to feel the same way.”

      This says it all doesn’t it. Too many people on this site are willfully obtuse for the sake of “art” no matter how many anecdotes, facts, and comparisons are drawn to show why some of us cancel things before it reaches that point.

      • Sophia's Side eye says:

        I’m looking forward to reading your thoughts on this, Lynnie. This thread is dissappointing, but it’s not surprising me.

      • Lynnie says:

        That’s very sweet of you Sophia’s Side Eye 🙈😊 (great username btw 😂😂), but there are tonsssss more on this thread who are much better at eloquating their points than I am haha

    • detritus says:

      It’s incredibly disheartening, especially because many of the same people are complaining about silencing voices.

      I guess thats more about silencing the voices in power, that speak the status quo, and not about silencing the voices that are heard less.

    • magnoliarose says:

      It makes me mad so I skip responding. How can a white person tell a black person how to feel about a show about slavery. It is condescending. The art excuse doesn’t wash at all. I like provocative art sometimes but this is not something that needs to be made. There is nothing to expose or learn. Slavery is evil. What more is there to be said.

  27. At says:

    Why is Hollywood so obsessed with 12-13% of the population? Am I the only one who find this weird?? And notice the portrayal of them is almost always negative? Why the negative propaganda?

    • Sophia's Side eye says:

      Because this country runs on the idea of white supremacy and, I guess, certain people like to see that. It’s sad. I won’t be watching.

    • Lynnie says:

      Black culture and black people themselves are very talented and cool and just have IT. (It’s what a good chunk of mainstream music, clothes, art, etc nowadays draws from.) The negative portrayal comes in because they’re jealous. It’s much easier to siphon somebody’s lifestyle (and pretend you were the original creator no less) if you constantly bag on that person all the time. Sadly, it’s seemed to have worked.

  28. deezee says:

    I have a few issues with this.
    Firstly, it has to do with protesting things you haven’t experienced yet. In general, reactionary protests (like this, Dr Who, etc) is getting tired.
    Secondly, with the information that is available, I am curious how they will reflect what would probably happened in the “real world.” Like how if they had continued to be a slave-holding land, the rest of the world would have condemned the south and put sanctions on it galore. Also if they managed to still be a nation by WWII, they clearly would have sided with Germany therefore leading the Allied nations to bring war against this Confederate nation. It would probably have been broken out into other smaller countries, etc. just like the other nations that lost that war with the Northern US taking prime land (maybe). I mean the north would not have probably risen to the dominance the nation rose to on its own in the 20th Century. Basically, I don’t think the showrunners will take into consideration how other world nations can and do help form a country; therefore, I find it will probably be an unrealistic portrayal of nation-building, and I am not interested.

  29. Fiorucci says:

    I think sunlight could be good for the problem of racist people who like confederate flags. I can see why it’s in poor taste for any (or mostly ) white people to profit from this subject though.

  30. Patty says:

    Right. I’d even be willing to shrug this off if there was equal representation but with the exception of a few within the last few years there have been a shit ton of movies released that might as well be #blackpainporn or #blacktortureporn

    It’s 2017 and I’m sick of seeing black bodies and black people brutalized on screen, that ish happens every day in real life. We don’t need to be constantly reminded of that. (See Detroit which opens this week) This will be just another show with fleshed out white characters, I can picture it now, there will be: the tortured slave owner who is really good, the sadist, the unrepentant racist, the grey guy who isn’t a racist but only cares about money, and the dude who rapes his slaves. And the black people will just be in the background: slaves.

    No agency, no three dimensional people. Background.

    No thank you. I don’t care if it’s written by black people, that doesn’t make it okay. Far too many black people are sill ready to shuck and jive and maintain that status quo for a buck.

    And telling Black people to suddenly get over hundreds of years of slavery, oppression, being denied basic human rights, segregation, etc is rich coming from people who are still frothing at the mouth over OJ. And want to “cancel” a black female comedian for making a joke about Cosby. Please.

    • Nicole says:

      But you don’t know that is what those black writers did..so how about giving the brotha and sista the benefit of the doubt and actually watch the show and see if they actually did that…seriously! They could write a wonderful story that tells our truth in a way that is a testament to our ancestors and our people. I feel like I need to create a hashtag called give them a chance DAMN!!!!

      • HK9 says:

        Out of all the things these black writers could have created and this is what we need to give a chance? Really? Just think about that for a minute. All the stories where black characters can reside but this is what got the green light. I don’t have to know what those writers did…. I’m sick of the bastardization of art to get a check.

      • Patty says:

        I appreciate your optimism but having read the description, it’s doubtful. Also considering it’s an alternative telling if history what kinds of stories / truths could they possibly tell that would honor us in any meaningful way. At the end if the day, our people would still be enslaved, which is problematic in itself to believe that the enslavement of black people would have persisted into the present day.

        People can do what they want, but I have no desire to watch this. Just like I have no desire to watch a retelling of a world where Germany won World War II and every last Jew was killed, or a desire to see a retelling of history where no Native Americans survived into the modern day. It just doesn’t appeal to me. Reimagining a world where large groups of people were slaughtered and wiped out just doesn’t appeal to me. Enough of it happened in this real world that we live in.

        Considering how difficult real life is, I don’t want to waste time on some dystopian fantasties were atrocities never end.

        Why don’t reimagine a world where after The Civil War: Black people got their forty acres and a mule, thriving black communities weren’t burnt to the ground simply for existing, little children didn’t have to be protected by armed soldiers to go to school, and blacks people were able to live their lives free from racism, oppression, and hatred. Now that’d be an interesting fantasy, LOL.

      • Carmen says:

        And my stance as a black woman is there is no way north of Hell I will watch this sh*t. But if this is the kind of programming that floats your boat, have at it.

    • African Sun says:

      Every now and then, there are other films celebrating the black or African experience that hit the mainstream like City of God and that don’t fall into the African-American slave narrative

      I think these films are hard to finance so they come around once in a while.

      Beasts of No Nation was another good attempt to do something different.

      I am not American but I am black African woman and I think there are issues when it comes to the types of black movies that get made.

      They are either about historical icons (Mandela), about interracial relationships (Loving, United Kingdom) or about slavery.

      Every now and then you get a Love & Basketball or an Eve’s Bayou, but why do we have to wait 10 years+?

      • Lynnie says:

        It’s a combination of many factors, but I think one of the biggest is the Hollywood execs’ refusal to think outside the box in fear of hurting their profits. All those black movie tropes you listed (and I would add the “black man dressing in drag” comedy movie in there too), bring in the big bucks domestically (i.e they appeal to white people).I feel many execs think if a niche (and by niche I mean not one of the 4 tropes) black movie is made it won’t attract enough viewers/money so they don’t bother. (If we’re being fully cynical you could say they finance black movies just to hit their diversity quota and not turn off the public, but I digress.)

        Now some of that is true. Moonlight (which was a great film) won Best Picture, but I doubt the average joe (black or white tbh) has actually seen it. Then on the other hand you have films like Hidden Figures and Straight Outta Compton which shows that there’s a hungry market for more diverse black films. Which way it goes in the future though is anyone’s guess. It’s nice to see people realizing the power of their wallet (Hidden Figures, Girls Trip), but it would be naive to say Hollywood is not gonna ignore their sequels, remakes, and their tried and true ideas for POC movies. (Add in China/overseas rising box office in the next few years and I think we might have to wait quite a while for the next black film gem).

    • Otaku Fairy says:

      The comedian just made a problematic joke. OJ is a murder and woman-beater. It’s nowhere near the same thing.

  31. Patty says:

    Who the heck said OJ was great person? Not me. And I’m not sure what this has to do with the topic at hand? That was in his parole thread a couple of weeks back. Also I could care less about your race, I also don’t understand what that has to do with the topic at hand. But since you asked.

    Being considered a menace to society has very specific connotations, it’s not a term usually applied to men who abuse their partners. Pointing that out, does not mean I condone or approve of OJ or anyone else for that matter abiding their spouse. Simple fact of the matter is, a person who beats their wife (in the eyes of the law) is not going to be considered a threat to society in the same way a serial rapist, bank robber, or someone who commits violent crimes upon strangers would be. Simple fact, you can’t keep someone in prison for 33 years for robbery, even if you don’t like the fact that said person was a wife beater and likely killed two people.

    • African Sun says:

      Patty you don’t need to clarify your comments. Not sure why people are nit-picking.

    • Otaku Fairy says:

      I get that the law views violent crimes against random strangers differently, but it does minimize and normalize violence against women to describe abusers who beat and/or kill their wives, girlfriends, exes, daughters, sisters, etc. as ‘not a danger to society’ or to say things like ‘don’t date the guy and you’ll have nothing to worry about.’ Stranger our spouse/ex,/parent/sibling, neither belongs out in society repeating the behavior.

  32. Unicorn_Realist says:

    At the end of the day, the bigger issue is manipulation. Controversial ideas are brought forth because at one time the general public wanted better viewing options for entertainment. Not the same old tv shows, movies, books etc. Everything happening now is put forth to polarize each individual group. Pit people and ideals against one another. Create uprising and stir hate. How far should it all go? Where does “Freedom of speech” fall into play here? Demanding someone stop expressing themselves because of subject matter can be applied to everything. We are giving the powers that be the green light to censor “us”. Lets regress as a nation and go back to how things were when many people didnt have a voice. Couldnt express themselves and or do the basics like read and write. Minorities and woman within America hit the hardest. Yes, HBOs new show idea is tone deaf on a lot of levels. Yes, HBO is known for themes that are hurtful to minorities and women. HBO has the freedom to show it as we also have the freedom to choose not to see it and voice our displeasure of their content. This goes for anything. What is good about this is the fact that we are sharing our opinions. We actually can openingly share them. I will celebrate that positive. Lets not give the powers that be ammunition to censor us because we cant have open discussions on painful topics.

    I cant identify directly with all groups that have been maginalized or discriminated against. I can only identify with mine. I do have an understanding and want to learn and know more drom people that it affects more. Going back in time… EVERY group, sex, ethnicity, etc has bern brutalize in someway. Times were brutal. There have always been winners and loser and the losers always paid the price. HBO will not be getting my money. I dont have them at all. I choose not to watch and supoort any of it. But I am in support of people freely watching what they want and commenting how they want. I dont have to agree.

  33. African Sun says:

    Seems to me that the majority of profitable black films & TV shows in the US have to have a slave narrative to make money basically.

    That’s the bottom line. With exception of Amistad & the original Roots, I am sick to death of watching slave movies now. Underground was a refreshing take, but it would have been more interesting focusing on black lives in the 1920s or 1930s.

    It’s a sad mark on society when black characters are only profitable when it shows them in a system that profited off their chocolate skin for 400 years.

    We all need to do better. It is totally unacceptable that these types of shows are being greenlit.

    • sanders says:

      I agree African Sun. The slave narrative is the one that wins oscars etc because white people are more comfortable with a distant racsim.
      I saw some twitter responses to this that I thought were spot on. One was an image of khaleesi from GOT being lifted up by a mass of white people, thanks GOT for imagery that makes me squirm. So few significant poc characters but you can muster up a sea of brown masses to gather together and worship a white woman. This instills no confidence in me whatsoever that this show will humanize black people and makes me question their motives for creating this.
      I know that after Trump won the election, ABC decided to try to develop programming that appeal to his base. Is this something similar I wonder?

  34. Skins says:

    Sounds like an interesting premise for a show. I’ll give it a chance, if I like it I’ll keep watching, if I don’t I won’t.

  35. LA Elle says:

    Nope. A week has not made me think this idea is any better.

    Since November, I’ve felt like the South won the Civil War, and I don’t need a fictional version of that.

    Here’s a crazy idea: Let’s do a speculative show where the Civil Rights Movement achieved its full potential in the ’60s and the ERA passed. Society still has problems, but what are they?

    That, to me, would be a more interesting topic. And more unique.

  36. radio active says:

    Art is art. I’m not going to judge a concept, and at this point in my life (part of the civil rights movement and continuing the legacy), it is ridiculous to ban something that has not been made. Let the story play out, then be mad if you feel. Did anyone ban Underground because it focuses on slavery? Anyone told John Legend and his team to quit because it’s not relevant? I’m black and proud as hell but I refuse to prejudge, like what MLK told us not to do, like what Malcolm was turning around to. If you don’t like it, make your own content, legit boycott or change the channel. When I see things I don’t like, I make a change and continue to make changes. To tell creators and writers what YOU want, without waiting to see how it goes down, to say we should have this type of creative content because we are black or other, is crazy without offering a solution. That is the same thing that was done to every black person who went beyond the expectations of white people. Be the change you wish to see in the world….knowledge is nothing without action.

  37. loveotterly says:

    I am imagining it would be done similarly to The Handmaid’s Tale. That show (from a book) was very well done and addressed sexism at it’s worst, but that’s not to say we don’t have sexism today.

  38. Ravine says:

    I wonder what the thinkpiece writers would do with their lives if it wasn’t for prestige TV.

  39. Ana says:

    I find this whole Confederate controversy so telling of the world we are currently living in. People are going nuts over something that they haven’t even seen, just by looking at a two line premise. I would understand if once they see the show they complain but it’s like you can’t abord social issues in a creative way any more. Some people really need to see reality through the eyes of fiction (that’s why science fiction has always been a popular genre) and if done well Confederate could do that. But no, let’s boycott something before it’s even started! Ugh, the racism debate keeps going off the tangent, we need to focus on the real racism.