Film Forward

Here's Why The Hashtag #NoConfederate Was Trending During This Week's 'Game Of Thrones'

"We believe the time to speak up is now."

Social media is usually abuzz during Sunday night's new episodes of the HBO fantasy series Game of Thrones, but this Sunday much of the buzz had nothing to do with dragons or even pop star cameos. Instead, many users took the opportunity to speak out against another upcoming HBO series from Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.

The planned series, called Confederate, imagines an alternate history in which, according to HBO, "the southern states have successfully seceded from the Union, giving rise to a nation in which slavery remains legal and has evolved into a modern institution."

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The recent announcement of the series caused some controversy, as many took issue with not only the subject matter, but also the involvement of Benioff and Weiss, considering what many see as Game of Thrones' problematic handling of topics such as sexual assault, as well as a lack of diversity.

"Because they've had at least six years to address these issues and have not, we do not have any confidence that they will be able to properly handle this issue with the nuance that is required," April Reign, who co-created the hashtag #NoConfederate, told Mashable

Reign โ€” who previously created the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag โ€” was joined by Rebecca Theodore, Shanelle Little, Lauren Warren, and Jamie Broadnax in encouraging followers to tweet their objections to the announced series during Sunday night's East Coast airing of Game of Thrones.

"It's better for [HBO] to cancel the show now, while it's still in its infancy, than to expend potentially millions of dollars per episode and face an even bigger backlash during the premiere, because we are not going away," Reign explained to Mashable.

The hashtag at least managed to gain enough popularity to reach No. 1 in trending nationwide, as well as No. 2 worldwide "for most of the hour," according to Reign. The backlash also appears to have reached HBO's ears, although the network is still planning to move forward with the series.

"We have great respect for the dialogue and concern being expressed around Confederate," HBO said in a statement Sunday, according to The Hollywood Reporter. "We have faith that [writers] 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."

However, it doesn't look like the show's opponents will be giving up anytime soon.

See some of Sunday night's #NoConfederate tweets below:

Cover image via Instagram

The ways we watch TV and movies have evolved, and it's time for the talent in front of and behind the camera to do the same. Film Forward speaks on the initiatives to diversify the film industry and the stories it tells. New articles premiere every second Thursday of โ€” and throughout โ€” the month.

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