HBO's Slate For New Show Backfires
On July 19th, the showrunners of Game of Thrones announced that they were working on a new show for HBO called "Confederate". The series will revolve around an alternate reality where the South won the Civil War of 1861 and a new Civil War is beginning. In the alternate reality slavery is legal and the story will follow many characters including freedom fighters, slave catchers, politicians, journalists, slaves, and slave owners.
Immediately after, backlash for the upcoming HBO show was made known. During an episode of Game of Thrones the hashtag #NoConfederate started trending. Critics have called the show destructive and questioned its appropriateness, considering America’s current racial and political turmoil. April Reign, the woman behind the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag also started the #NoConfederate hashtag, in hopes to bring twitter together to end the development of the series. Reign tweeted "Earlier this month, there were protests about taking down Confederate monuments. The prison industrial complex is bursting with Black and brown people, disproportionate to the crimes committed. So, for some, Confederate is not 'alternate history,' but a painful and recent reminder of how much further we still need to go for true equality in this country."
Following the immediate uproar, the executive producers of the new series had a sit-down interview with Vulture to defend their show. HBO programming president was also confronted with questions at the Television Critics Association press tour. The four producers defended their show, saying that the series would not convey typical imagery of slavery. They then said they intend to use their series to acknowledge current racial tension in America. In addition, HBO’s programming president, Casey Bloys called the initial announcement of the new series misguided, but said he still stands behind the producers and the idea.
As for Reign, she added, "While we are not currently calling for a boycott of 'Game of Thrones' or the cancellation of HBO subscriptions, we will not rest until 'Confederate' is scrapped."
"Confederate" is still under development at HBO. No scripts or outlines have been written and it will not premiere for another two years.