Backlash to HBO’s post-Game of Thrones drama Confederate remains as fervent as ever, and many pointed to this past weekend’s deadly riots in Charlottesville as proof of the series’ insensitivity. But the network has again come to Confederate’s defense, claiming “the suggestion of irresponsibility on our part is simply undeserved.”

The modern-slavery drama from Thrones creators David Benioff and Dan Weiss, joined by Nichelle Tramble Spellman and Malcolm Spellman, has endured steady backlash since its announcement in mid-July. This past weekend’s white supremacist protests and domestic terrorism in Charlottesville, Virginia renewed the “#NoConfederate” hashtag that trended in recent weeks, as many observed that the country’s ongoing racial divide puts the series’ premise in even poorer taste.

HBO initially acknowledged its miscalculation with the rollout, but insisted on their commitment to the series in a renewed inquiry with The New York Times:

We support everybody’s right to express an opinion but the suggestion of irresponsibility on our part is simply undeserved. HBO has a long history of championing intelligent storytelling and we will approach this project with the same level of thoughtfulness that has always defined our programming. We recognize the sensitivity of this project and will treat it with the respect that it deserves. Our creative partners should be given time to develop the series rather than face prejudgment.

Indeed, the loudest defenses of Confederate have typically deferred to creators sorting out their vision over time, as director Judd Apatow stated over Twitter “to criticize work before it exists is dangerous to all expression.” Showrunners have also pointed to the fact that the series won’t enter production until Game of Thrones has come to an end (in 2018 at the earliest), perhaps hoping the criticism dies down.

Meanwhile, Amazon’s own alt-history Black America premise drew significantly better reception. Will HBO change its mind about Confederate? Stay tuned for the latest updates as they arrive.

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