HBO has officially response to the social media movement against its most controversial TV show-in-development. Ever since HBO announced it had granted an alternate history drama called Confederate a straight to series order awhile back, the upcoming show has become a hot button topic online. Based on the #NoConfederate social media campaign waged against Confederate last night, it doesn't seem likely that the debate over whether the series should be made is likely to die down anytime soon either.
For those who haven't kept up with the controversy, Confederate hails from Game of Thrones showrunning duo David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, as well as married writers/executive producers Malcolm Spellman and Nichelle Tramble Spellman. The point of contention many have is Confederate's setting, an alternate universe where the south won the Civil War, and slavery still exists as an institution in the series' present day version of the U.S.
The #NoConfederate social media protest campaign took place during last night's Game of Thrones airing, and succeeded in gaining widespread attention - so much so that THR has obtained an official statement from HBO addressing the controversy, and imploring people to try and keep an open mind concerning the project. Here's their statement in full.
"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."
While it's unsurprising that any show that features slavery would draw controversy, some against the #NoConfederate campaign have argued that other provocative alternate history dramas like Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale and Amazon's The Man in the High Castle have aired without much protest, and wonder why Confederate should be held to a different standard.
At the same time, today's political and social climate has led to the racial divide between white and black Americans coming into sharp focus once again, especially when it comes to the many instances of white police officers fatally shooting unarmed black people that have been captured on camera in recent years. In that sense, it's not hard to see why some would see Confederate's subject matter as an inappropriate and unnecessary addition to today's pop culture landscape. For now though, it appears that HBO is not ready to give up on launching Confederate.
Confederate does not have an official premiere date yet.