HBO’s Game of Thrones is usually met with hashtag anticipation on Twitter, but tonight’s episode was treated to a different kind of hashtag. In response to creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss recently announced modern-day slavery series, Confederate, many have taken to Twitter with the hashtag “#NoConfederate” as a form of protest.
April Reign, who is known for starting the #OscarsSoWhite campaign in 2015, is one of the organizers of the protest. She asked Twitter activists to tweet #NoConfederate to HBO during the East and West Coast broadcasts of Game of Thrones. The protest aims to urge HBO to scrap the idea. The hashtag became a worldwide trending topic during the East Coast broadcast.
Written by Benioff and Weiss, who also will showrun, as well as Nichelle Tramble Spellman and Malcolm Spellman, who are black, Confederate chronicles events leading to the Third American Civil War. It takes place in an alternate timeline, where the Southern states successfully have seceded from the Union, giving rise to a nation in which slavery remains legal and has evolved into a modern institution.
In regards to the protest, HBO released on a statement on Sunday, “We have great respect for the dialogue and concern being expressed around Confederate. 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.”
HBO’s president of programming Casey Bloys, recently addressed the controversy at TCA, calling the decision to issue a press release for Confederate “misguided.” He suggested that the project’s topic would’ve been better suited for one-on-one interviews, in which the creators could fully flesh out their vision the way they had done in pitch meetings with HBO executives, something that cannot be conveyed in a one-line logline.
“If I could do it over again, our mistake — HBO’s mistake, not the producers’ — was thinking that we would be able to announce an idea that was so sensitive and require so much care in a press release,” said Bloys.