HBO President Casey Bloys responded to backlash over the network's new series "Confederate" from "Game of Thrones" creators D.B. Weiss and David Benioff.
The series aims to chronicle the events leading to the Third American Civil War, taking place in an alternate timeline, where the Southern states have successfully seceded from the Union, resulting in the rise of a nation where slavery remains legal.
The concept was immediately slammed by critics online. Many described it as “slavery fanfic” for white supremacists.
“The bet for us is on our talent,” explained Boys during a press tour Wednesday, as reported by TheWrap.com. “We have a long history at HBO of betting on our talent, and we’re going to stand behind them… These four writers are at the top of their game. They could do anything they want. But this is what they feel passionately about, so I’m going to bet on that. They feel — and I support them — it’s a risk worth taking.”
However, Bloys admitted announcing details of the series before any scripts were written was a “mistake.”
“I think we could’ve done a better job with the press rollout,” he said. “If I had to do it over again, what I would do to introduce the idea is what we ended up doing after the fact with the four producers, which is to have them sit with journalists… We heard why they wanted to do the show, what they were excited about, why it was important to them. So we had that context. But I completely understand that somebody reading the press release would not have that at all.”
Bloys said that while presenting the controversial storyline comes with great difficulty, he believed it’s “a real opportunity to advance the racial discussion in America.”
“If you can draw a line between what we’re seeing in the country today with voter suppression, mass incarceration, lack of access to the public education and health care,” he said. “And draw a direct line between that and our past and our shared history, that is an important line to draw and a conversation worth having.”