‘Weapons grade’

Women launch #NoConfederate campaign against new HBO show by Game of Thrones creators

Writer/producers David Benioff (L) and D.B. Weiss for 'Game of Thrones' (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

On Friday, five women launched a Twitter campaign with one express purpose: to prevent the release of HBO’s newest planned show Confederate. The show—which is billed as a science fiction-esque reimagining of the ‘Third American Civil War’ in which the South was successful in seceded from the Union and slavery is still legal — was hit with its first hurdle in the #NoConfederate campaign.

In an attempt to send a message to HBO, #OscarsSoWhite creator April Reign along with Rebecca Theodore, Shanelle Little, Lauren Warren, and Jamie Broadnax, reached out on Twitter Friday morning asking users and HBO fans to use the hashtag #NoConfederate in all of their tweets in the hour of 9:00pm-10:00pm EST during Game of Thrones. By the end of the broadcast, the campaign was trending at No. 1 in the United States and No. 2 worldwide.

Although the sentiment on Twitter surrounding the show’s concept was overwhelming negative, HBO was quick to respond to the campaign with the message that they plan to go forward with the show, despite the backlash. “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,” the network 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.”

The show — which does not yet have a script, cast, or outline — is spearheaded by Games of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. They will collaborate with African-American writers and executive producers Nichelle Tramble Spellman and Malcolm Spellman — known for their work on The Good Wife and Empire respectively. The husband-and-wife team will act as full partners in addition to writing. In an interview with Vulture on Thursday, Malcolm Spellman said he was all too aware that the show would set tempers flaring and that when it was first pitched to him, he told the network the content was nothing short of “weapons grade material.”

“I do understand their concern,” Nichelle Spellman went on to explain when addressing the success of the Twitter campaign, “The concern is real. But I think that the four of us are very thoughtful, very serious, and not flip about what we are getting into in any way.” At the Television Critics Association’s press tour on Wednesday, HBO programming president Casey Bloys also voiced his continued support for the project despite the initial fallout. “Everyone understands there is a high degree of getting this right, he said. “ … If you can get it right, there is real opportunity to advance the racial discussion in America.”

For her part, Reign insists that the campaign is specific to the show and does not wish for it to be seen as a boycott of HBO as a network. “We want to work with HBO, because there are times when they do great work,” Reign told BuzzFeed, stressing that the timing of the campaign was tantamount, hoping that a widespread response from audience members would help HBO think twice before investing in the show. “This is about Confederate specifically. This particular show should not see the light of day.”

Read the full story at The Daily Mail.


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