Alim Kheraj
July 21, 2017 5:30 am

The creators of HBO’s hit fantasy drama Game of Thrones have responded to criticism of their new HBO show Confederate, which was announced earlier this week.

In case you missed it, GoT showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss announced on July 19th that they are working on a new drama about a modern-day, alternative “America” in which the South was able to secede from the Union and formed its own country where slavery is still an institution. The show, which would be set in the demilitarized zone on the Mason Dixon line, would charter the build up to another American Civil War.

Benioff and Weiss said that they had originally envisioned the story as a movie, but their “experience on Thrones has convinced us that no one provides a bigger, better storytelling canvas than HBO.” 

While people were intrigued by the idea, there was also backlash against the show. Writing for the Daily Beast, Ira Madison questioned whether two white men should be helming a show about the continuation of slavery.

While Madison did note that two writers of color, Nichelle Tramble Spellman and Malcolm Spellman, would also serve as executive producers on the show, he suggested that “this harebrained idea serves as yet another reminder that the imaginations of white men can be incredibly myopic.”

Likewise, critic and author Roxane Gay tweeted her own opinion, calling the premise behind the show “offensive.” 

However, Benioff and Weiss — along with Nichelle Tramble Spellman and Malcolm Spellman — have responded to the criticism.

Given that no scripts had been written, Benioff said that he was “surprised” by the intense backlash the announcement received on social media.

Speaking to Vulture about Confederate, Tramble Spellman said that she understood people’s concerns, but wished that “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.” 

Malcom Spellman added, “You cannot litigate this on Twitter. It’s not possible. 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. And people don’t have to get on board with what we’re doing based on a press release.”

He went on to say that he wanted people to know that both he and Nichelle had not “sold out” and weren’t “props being used to protect someone else.” 

Confederate is expected to begin production once the final season of Game of Thrones wraps next year.

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