Ever since their new series Confederate was announced on July 19, Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss have received an almost-nonstop flood of criticism focusing largely on the show’s premise, an alternative American history in which the South successfully seceded from the North, slavery was never abolished, and a third Civil War is in the offing. Despite reassurances from HBO president of programming Casey Bloys — as well as further explication from Weiss, Benioff, and Confederate writers/executive producers Nichelle Tramble Spellman and Malcolm Spellman — potential viewers remained doubtful that a TV show about slavery could avoid being exploitative and salacious, the leveraging of an unhealed historical wound for entertainment purposes.
Which is why Twitter users — rallied together by activists such as #OscarsSoWhite organizer April Reign — took to the platform during Sunday’s Game of Thrones episode to express their concerns, fears, and outright disgust over the show, with the hashtag #NoConfederate. In response, HBO issued a statement, the gist of which seems to be: Please wait until you see the show to decide whether or not it’s terrible. “We have great respect for the dialogue and concern being expressed around Confederate,” the network said. “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.” Looks like we’ll be waiting a while: Bloys has said that, due to Benioff and Weiss’s responsibilities to Game of Thrones, it will be at least three years before Confederate airs.*
*This post initially said Confederate could air in 2018 or 2019. It has since been corrected.