HBO Defends 'Confederate' Against Viral Backlash

Ever since it was first announced, HBO has been trying to put the cap back on the explosive “Confederate.” The illustrious  “Game Of Thrones” duo David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, along with Nichelle Tramble Spellman (“Justified,” “The Good Wife”) and Malcolm Spellman (“Empire”) have tried to explain the nuances of their show, which will take place in an alternate history of the United States where slavery still exists, without much luck. Meanwhile, HBO even offered a mea culpa of sorts about announcing such a button-pushing series through a press release. All of this has done little to quell concerns about the series, and now the backlash has gone girl.

During last night’s episode of “Game Of Thrones,” April Reign, who started the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag campaign, launched #NoConfederate. It took off pretty much right away, with Twitter users sending it out during the evening, in a large enough volume that HBO responded. Again, the network is standing behind “Confederate,” and issued the following statement:

READ MORE: ‘Confederate’ Team Defend Their Controversial HBO Show

“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.”

Some might think HBO is naively pushing ahead, and maybe they are. But one can also imagine they don’t want to set a precedent where they are making programming decisions based on a hashtag going viral.

It’ll certainly be interesting to see how this all plays out, but considering “Confederate” is barely even written yet, there’s lots of time for the creators to ensure they are balancing being provocative with their drama, but also sensitive to the optics around it. Thoughts? Let us know. [Deadline]