LOS ANGELES (CBSMiami/AP) — HBO’s planned modern-day Southern slavery drama “Confederate” has prompted a social media backlash.READ MORE: ⚠️ Warning: Major Traffic Shift Coming For I-395 Ramp To I-95
The campaign, with “OscarsSoWhite” activist April Reign among its organizers, asked people to tweet to HBO with the hashtag “NoConfederate” during Sunday’s broadcast of the channel’s “Game of Thrones.”
“Game of Thrones” is produced by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, who are developing the recently announced “Confederate.” The pair, who are white, will work on “Confederate” with husband-and-wife Malcolm Spellman (“Empire”) and Nichelle Tramble Spellman (“The Good Wife”), who are black writer-producers.
Reign tweeted Sunday night that #NoConfederate rapidly shot to the top ranks of Twitter both nationally and internationally. It didn’t take long for HBO to respond to the campaign that amplified earlier criticism of the project.
“We have great respect for the dialogue and concern being expressed around ‘Confederate,'” the channel said in a statement. “We have faith that 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.”
In announcing “Confederate” earlier this month, HBO described the story as following “a broad swath of characters on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Demilitarized Zone,” including freedom fighters, politicians, abolitionists and executives of a slave-holding conglomerate.READ MORE: Police: Miami Man Kills Father, Critically Injures Mother Found With 'Knife Blade Stuck In Her Back'
Writer Roxane Gay (“Hunger,” ”Difficult Women”) made her opinion known in July 25th opinion piece for The New York Times which carried the headline, “I Don’t Want to Watch Slavery Fan Fiction.”
“It is curious that time and again, when people create alternate histories, they are largely replicating a history we already know, and intimately,” Gay wrote. “They are replicating histories where whiteness thrives and people of color remain oppressed.”
Last week, HBO programming president Casey Bloys acknowledged missteps in how it announced the drama series but defended its value.
“File this under, ‘hindsight is 20-20,'” Bloys told a TV critics’ group. HBO was misguided in putting out a press release instead of having the producers explain the idea more fully in media interviews, he said.
The show won’t be “whips and plantations,” Bloys said, but will draw a line between America today and its past as it tries to advance the discussion on race relations.
“Confederate” isn’t expected to start production for at least a year, Bloys has said, noting that Benioff and Weiss are working on the final season of “Game of Thrones,” with the premiere date yet to be settled. The fantasy drama’s seventh and penultimate season just began showing.MORE NEWS: Miami Police Chief Art Acevedo Calls Out Commissioners In Scathing Memo Ahead Of No-Confidence Vote
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)