HBO released a statement on Sunday evening after the hashtag #NoConfederate became a worldwide trending topic on Twitter during Game of Thrones.
The hashtag, created by April Reign of the 2015 #OscarsSoWhite campaign, sought to protest the premium cabler’s recently announced Confederate, from Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, in hopes of sending a signal to the Powers That Be before the show gets off the ground.
— April (@ReignOfApril) July 28, 2017
The hour-long sci-fi drama, picked up to series earlier this month and set to premiere following Season 8 of Thrones, envisions an alternate, post-Civil War world wherein “the southern states have successfully seceded from the Union, giving rise to a nation in which slavery remains legal and has evolved into a modern institution.” It’s worth noting that the Confederate creative team also includes two prolific African-American writer-producers: Nichelle Tramble Spellman (The Good Wife) and Malcolm Spellman (Empire).
Following the #NoConfederate campaign, HBO released the following statement:
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 idea of two white men — who have already come under fire for their portrayal of race (or lack thereof) on Thrones — heading up a show about slavery spawned an immediate backlash following the initial announcement. At the Television Critics Association summer press tour, HBO’s programming president Corey Bloys conceded that the network essentially botched the announcement.
“If I could do it over again, [it was] HBO’s mistake, not the producers,'” he said. “The idea that we would be able to announce an idea that is so sensitive and requires such care in a press release was misguided on our part.”