Since HBO announced that they were planning a new series called Confederate, which would be a dramatic alternate history series, the network and the show itself have been faced with a lot of backlash. The series, which comes from the creators of Game of Thrones, would imagine what might have happened if the Southern states had actually been able to secede from the Union at the time of the Civil War. With this storyline, slavery would not have been abolished and would actually still be in practice in the present day.
The backlash against Confederate occurred relatively quickly after HBO announced the plans for the series, which would come from the Game of Thrones‘ showrunners, D.B. Weiss and David Benioff. While some of the backlash stems from the attachment of the Game of Thrones showrunners, also attached to the show as partners are executive producers Malcolm Spellman and Nichelle Tramble Spellman.
Ever since Confederate was announced, the network has been on the defensive as critics have taken to social media to voice their opposition to the project. In fact, in a joint interview with Vulture, the producers of the series, Weiss, Benioff, and the two Spellmans, defended the show and attempted to explain why they wanted to get this particular story told. While the producers offered up a solid defense of their series, it would seem that it is not enough to stop the continued backlash.
Even with the producers speaking out, the creator of #OscarsSoWhite, April Reign, has taken to social media in an attempt to once more start a campaign that would be used to put a stop to Confederate. According to CNN, on July 28, Reign took to Twitter to let her followers know that she believes it is once more time to speak up, before HBO even has an opportunity to begin investing a lot of money into the series. In her tweet, she asked her followers to join her on July 30, during Game of Thrones, to share social media posts using #NoConfederate in order to send a message to HBO that people do not want to see this series become a reality.
April Reign made it clear to her followers that her hope is to send the message to HBO that rather than give Confederate life, viewers want to see “marginalized voices” being uplifted instead. As many other critics have pointed out, the series is not so much an attempt to tell an alternate version of history, but is rather an example of “reality.” Critics have also called the series harmful and inappropriate considering the current political climate and ongoing racial tensions.
While HBO and the Game of Thrones showrunners continue to face backlash over their decision to move forward with Confederate, Casey Bloys, the president of HBO programming, was asked about the backlash during the press tour for the Television Critics Association. Bloys made it clear that the network is choosing to stand behind their producers, and said that his hope moving forward is that people will judge the series based on its content and the material that is ultimately put together, rather than on what it should be or even should not be.
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