BOSTON (CBS) — Boston University may change the name of its mascot. The school says the name “Rhett” pays tribute to a fictional character associated with the Confederacy and slavery.
The Boston Terrier mascot was chosen in 1922. The nickname references Clark Gable’s character in “Gone With The Wind.” In the novel and Hollywood film, Rhett is in love with Scarlett – and scarlet happens to be BU’s school color.
“Despite this seemingly cute connection between the movie and our mascot’s name, the fact is that the movie’s portrayal of the American Civil War, postwar reconstruction, and slavery is offensive,” BU President Robert Brown said in a statement. “And it is reasonable for people to question why, at a university founded by abolitionists, we have a mascot nicknamed for a character in a film whose racist depictions are completely at odds with our own tradition.”
In June, HBO Max temporarily removed “Gone With The Wind” from its platform and returned it with a disclaimer acknowledging that the film “denies the horrors of slavery.”
A committee will explore whether the Rhett nickname should be retired. A decision is expected by mid-October.