Posted on July 31, 2017

Black Women Launch #NoConfederate Campaign Against New HBO Program Created by Game of Thrones’s Showrunners

Matthew Wright, Daily Mail, July 30, 2017

A Twitter campaign has been launched by five women in hopes of getting HBO to scrap its new upcoming show Confederate.

On Friday morning Rebecca Theodore, Jamie Broadnax, Shanelle Little, Lauren Warren, and #OscarsSoWhite creator April Reign launched a campaign asking people to tweet #NoConfederate during the Sunday airing of Game of Thrones at 9pm ET.

Created by GOT showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, Confederate is set in an alternate world where the South won the Civil War and slavery still is legal.

Producers Guild Awards 2016

David Benioff and D.B. Weiss at the 27th Annual Producers Guild Awards Show, Los Angeles, America – 23 Jan 2016. (Credit Image: © Buchan/Rex Shutterstock via ZUMA Press)

The show has faced intense backlash and social media users tweeted their disdain for the project during Game of Thrones.

‘This alt history adventure will be an excuse for more violence and hatred. Racists will rally behind this show. #NoConfederate,’ said one user.

It was a sentiment shared by April Reign, who posted an old photo of someone with a confederate flag and a sign that said ‘N***** go home.’

She said: ‘In the alt-history of #Confederate, Black people are still enslaved. I’m guess this would be a common image on screen. #NoConfederate @HBO.’

April would also tweet: ‘Black women assembling like Voltron to get #Confederate TF outta here. Stay tuned.’

‘#NoConfederate White folks need to stop creating things they aren’t meant to create & use their privilege to elevate POC art & creativity,’ said Cameron Airen.

Annelisa J. Purdie added: ‘Imagine what might have happened if every ex-slave actually WERE given their 40 acres and a mule, no strings attached. #NoConfederate.’

The announcement of Confederate, which has no cast, script, or outline as of yet, was met with widespread criticism.

But the network responded to the tweets and the campaign, expressing their gratitude for the campaign but stating they would continue.

‘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,’ HBO said in a statement on Sunday.

‘The project is currently in its infancy so we hope that people will reserve judgment until there is something to see.’

President of programming at HBO, Casey Bloys, spoke on the backlash at the Television Critics Association summer press tour on Thursday, saying that HBO ‘assumed it would be controversial,’ but that Confederate ‘will rise or fall on the quality of that material… It’s a risk worth taking.’

It was a sentiment cosigned by Benioff in an interview with Vulture.

He said: ‘You know, we might f*** it up. But we haven’t yet.’

Confederate’s executive producers Nichelle and Malcolm Spellman also spoke during that interview, offering their own perspectives.

Malcolm, a producer on Empire, said that when the showrunners first pitched the idea to him, he said: ‘You’re dealing with weapons-grade material here.’

But Reigns adds that the issue with the show is that it deals with the treatment of the experience of Black pain during and after the time period.

‘We see nothing good from the commodification of more black pain and that is what this would be,’ Reign said to BuzzFeed News.

The campaign’s mission is to show the pure power of audience influence, Reign said.

She added: ‘What we see with #OscarsSoWhite and #NoConfederate is that when people rise up with a unified voice, change can be made.’

Timing was everything for campaign organizers, who wanted to make sure that they struck HBO before any further progress could be made on the series.

‘We are very intentionally acting now, before the scripts are written, before the parts are cast,’ Reign said.

‘We want to say to HBO: ‘Don’t put any additional money into this, because we are not going to go away.”

Reign cited Issa Rae’s Insecure along with HBO’s plan to adapt 10 August Wilson plays as reasoning why the Confederate campaign isn’t an attack on HBO or Game of Thrones.

‘We want to work with HBO, because there are times when they do great work,’ she said.

‘This is about Confederate specifically. This particular show should not see the light of day.’