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Confederate Creators Respond to Public Criticism of the Show

Updated July 21, 10 a.m. PT: Game of Thrones creators D.B Weiss and David Benioff have responded to the backlash they received after announcing their new project, a dystopian look at a United States in which the South seceded during the Civil War and modern slavery is still a thing. Considering both Weiss and Benioff are white, you can see why some might view this as problematic.

But they’re defending the project, which has two black writer/producers, Nichelle and Malcolm Spellman. They all think the show has the chance to tie into the very real systemic racism the U.S. still faces today, as well as the lasting effects of slavery that have carried over into modern real life.

“What people need to recognize is, and it makes me really want to get into the show: The shit is alive and real today,” Malcolm told Vulture. “I think people have got to stop pretending that slavery was something that happened and went away. The shit is affecting people in the present day. And it’s easy for folks to hide from it, because sometimes you’re not able to map it out, especially with how insidious racism has become. But everyone knows that with Trump coming into power, a bunch of shit that had always been there got resurfaced. So the idea that this would be pornography goes back to people imagining whips and plantations. What they need to be imagining is how fucked up things are today, and a story that allows us to now dramatize it in a more tangible matter.”

If anyone can pull this off the right way, it’s HBO. Here’s hoping they do.

Original story:

Game of Thrones is the hottest show on television right now, with the dynamic show-running duo of David Benioff and D.B. Weiss taking the reigns from George R.R. Martin and turning his epic fantasy series into a pop-culture phenomenon.

GoT continues to break ratings records and set social media on fire every Sunday night, but with the show wrapping up next fall, HBO is looking for the next needle-moving series that will keep cord-cutters from canceling their expensive cable or satellite package.

More: Don’t Freak Out, But Game of Thrones’ Days Are Numbered

It looks like HBO is once again teaming with Benioff and Weiss on a new project, but as with anything involving this influential team, it’s mired in controversy.

The concept for the still in-progress series, Confederate, imagines a world in which the American South successfully seceded from the United States during the Civil War. This modern setting would portray slavery as a completely legal way of life in the South, featuring characters struggling to end the institution once and for all. The show would also feature people who profit from slavery; combined with the implication that both slaves and slave catchers would be involved in this show, the public has had some strong opinions about the announcement.
Fictional works such as The Man in the High Castle have proven that audiences are certainly curious about alternate-reality historical fiction, but just where viewers draw the line remains to be seen. HBO is one of the few entertainment powerhouses capable of taking artistic chances like these. The network has few qualms about airing controversial programming, but Confederate has already received plenty of negative feedback from people who think that in today’s explosive socio-political climate, this show would be counter-productive to easing very real racial tensions in America.
The backlash on Twitter has been swift and harsh.

Assuming this project moves forward despite the backlash, we’re going to hope HBO treats the issue with the sensitivity and severity it requires.

Do you think HBO should cancel this show all together? Let us know in the comments below.

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