Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are responding to the backlash concerning their new HBO series, Confederate. The alt-history series, which is built around the fictional premise of the Confederacy having won the war and slavery still existing, was met with criticism after HBO announced the show Wednesday.
Benioff, Weiss, and producers Nichelle Tramble Spellman (Justified) and Malcolm Spellman (Empire) were interviewed by Vulture about the backlash and indicated that no scripts had been written yet.
“So everything is brand-new and nothing’s been written,” Benioff said. “I guess that’s what was a little bit surprising about some of the outrage. It’s just a little premature. You know, we might fuck it up. But we haven’t yet.”
Not sure why outrage would be a surprise? People are allowed to voice their opinions about whether to show support or outrage. And just because you have fans for one show doesn’t mean you’re beyond reproach.
In a video posted on her Twitter feed, journalist ReBecca Theodore-Vachon expressed what many Game of Thrones fans seem to feel about the news. “Y’all are good with dragons,” Theodore-Vachon said. “Y’all are good with magic. When it comes to black people ... no, I do not trust you.”
Interestingly enough, both Spellmans quickly deleted their Twitter account once they recognized the backlash, but they say that as black creatives, they understand the concerns.
“I do understand their concern,” Nichelle Tramble Spellman said. “I wish their concern had been reserved to the night of the premiere, on HBO, on a Sunday night, when they watched, and then they made a decision after they watched an hour of television as to whether or not we succeeded in what we set out to do.
“The concern is real,” she continued. “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. What I’ve done in the past, what Malcolm has done in the past, what the D.B.s have done in the past, proves that. So I would have loved an opportunity for the conversation to start once the show was on the air.”
“You cannot litigate this on Twitter. It’s not possible,” her husband, Malcolm Spellman, added. “I don’t know that we can change anyone’s mind ... but what people have to understand is, and what we are obligated to repeat in every interview is: We’ve got black aunties. We’ve got black nephews, uncles. Black parents and black grandparents. We deal with them every single day.
“We deal with the struggle every single day,” he continued. “And people don’t have to get on board with what we’re doing based on a press release. But when they’re writing about us, and commenting about us, they should be mindful of the fact that there are no sellouts involved in this show. Me and Nichelle are not props being used to protect someone else. We are people who feel a need to address issues the same way they do, and they should at least humanize the other end of those tweets and articles.”
People are still scratching their heads over the concept of the show, especially at a time when relics of the Confederacy are now being taken down in the South, and it’s not as if we’re finally living in a post-racial society.
And yes, we all know about shows like Man in High Castle, Confederate States of America and the countless books written; just don’t assume that everyone wants an alt-version of things people still have to deal with in real life—you know, like subjugation.