Producers Of HBO's Civil War Drama 'Confederate' Respond To Backlash
The producers of HBO’s Confederate have responded to the controversy surrounding the show.
On Wednesday came news that Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss were working on a television series called Confederate, which reimagines the United States where the southern states have successfully seceded from the Union, therefore allowing slavery to remain legal. The announcement received plenty of backlash but the showrunners, as well as two producers a part of the forthcoming show, have since responded.
Speaking with Vulture, Benioff, Weiss, as well as husband and wife Malcolm Spellman and Nichelle Tramble Spellman (who are black) discussed the show and the controversy its announcement received. Weiss describes the series as an “alternative-history show” and a “science-fiction show,” with Nichelle adding that it is going to be set in present-day.
“There is not going to be, you know, the big Gone With the Wind mansion,” Nichelle said. “This is present day, or close to present day, and how the world would have evolved if the South had been successful seceding from the Union.”
“This is not a world in which the entire country is enslaved,” Malcolm adds. “Slavery is in one half of the country. And the North is the North. As Nichelle was saying, the imagery should be no whips and no plantations.”
Malcolm then discusses some of the criticism the announcement faced, particularly from authors Roxane Gay and Joy Reid.
“You cannot litigate this on Twitter…when they’re writing about us, and commenting about us, they should be mindful of the fact that there are no sellouts involved in this show,” he said. “Me and Nichelle are not props being used to protect someone else. We are people who feel a need to address issues the same way they do, and they should at least humanize the other end of those tweets and articles.”
Malcolm also speaks on another critique of the show, in that some white supremacists or members of the alt-right may feel emboldened by Confederacy.
“I think that [using the word] ‘winning’ creates the wrong image. [In the world of Confederate], it was a standstill. They maintain their position, the North maintains theirs. What people need to recognize is, and it makes me really want to get into the show: The shit is alive and real today,” he said. “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.”