Hollywood producer-director Judd Apatow has come out in defense of HBO amid brewing controversy surrounding the network’s plans to produce Confederate, a drama around an alternate reality in which the South won the Civil War and slavery developed into a modern institution.
“Censorship is never a good idea,” Apatow wrote on Twitter of the forthcoming drama from Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.
“They haven’t even written a word,” he added. “Seems a tad early to judge their work and intentions.”
Censorship is never a good idea. They haven't even written a word. Seems a tad early to judge their work and intentions. https://t.co/EJ5MTm363s
— Judd Apatow (@JuddApatow) August 4, 2017
Despite the prospect of a diverse cast, including, presumably, several characters of color, social media users filled the Internet with outrage in protest of the premise of the show.
Some of the criticism on social media revolved around claims that Benioff and Weiss — already under fire from social justice advocates for a lack of minority representation on Game of Thrones — are white, and therefore are not qualified to make a television series about modern slavery.
Like even if Confederate is critical of current day racism, do we need another series about the suffering of POC, written by white men?
— splatussy daddy (@kamilumin) July 19, 2017
Two white guys making a show where black slavery features prominently. This is profoundly tone deaf.
— Logan Rapp (@Loganchance) July 19, 2017
Others wrote that the series was ill-timed for today’s contentious political climate.
The outrage over Confederate hit its peak during the premiere of the third episode of Game of Thrones‘ seventh season this month, with fans taking to Twitter to share the hashtag “#NoConfederate.” The hashtag campaign — led in part by #OscarsSoWhite creator April Reign — briefly became one of the top trends on Twitter that night.
— April (@ReignOfApril) August 5, 2017
Benioff and Weiss responded to the PR nightmare around Confederate, explaining that the plot for the show is one they had been thinking about for a long time.
“We have discussed Confederate for years, originally as a concept for a feature film,” Benioff and Weiss said in a statement. “But our experience on Thrones has convinced us that no one provides a bigger, better storytelling canvas than HBO. There won’t be dragons or White Walkers in this series, but we are creating a world, and we couldn’t imagine better partners in world-building than [executive producers] Nichelle [Tramble Spellman] and Malcolm [Spellman], who have impressed us for a long time with their wit, their imagination and their Scrabble-playing skills.”
Apatow, a vocal critic of President Donald Trump, had previously spoken out to apparently defend far-left protesters who were demonstrating against free speech in February. The Trainwreck director warned in a since-deleted tweet that it was “just the beginning” after so-called “anti-fascist” rioters assaulted numerous attendees, started fires, smashed up shops and ATMs, and attacked people’s cars at Milo Yiannopoulos’s UC Berkeley speaking engagement in February.
The director later said he deleted the tweet because it was “vague.”
“I never support violence,” he said. “I do support peaceful protest against hateful people and awful ideas.”