Reruns of Dukes of Hazzard were officially removed from the TV Land schedule on Tuesday. The decision was confirmed by Entertainment Weekly. It has since sparked outrage and concern that the Confederate flag controversy has strayed into a knee-jerk "overly politically correct" territory.
As fans of the series know, the car the Duke boys drove featured a Confederate flag design on the roof. It was named "The General Lee" after General Robert E. Lee, the leader of the Confederate Army.
TV Land channel pulls 'Dukes of Hazzard' reruns amid Confederate flag uproar: http://t.co/La396qWaRO pic.twitter.com/4ryVz0U2DvTV Land has yet to offer an official statement as to why Dukes of Hazzard was removed from the schedule. The network seems reluctant to go on the record, even when the answer is pretty obvious. In the past few weeks, there has been a significant backlash against the Confederate flag. Anti-flag protesters share a strong belief it is a symbol of white hate and racism.
— ABC News (@ABC) July 1, 2015
Unfortunately for pro-Confederate flag supporters, that "Southern heritage" has been closely aligned with hate groups like the KKK and other white supremacists. Even though one wouldn't readily associate the Dukes of Hazzard with the Klan, in this highly volatile climate no business wants to risk losing money.
Companies like Wal-Mart and Amazon removed any and all Confederate flag merchandise and Warner Bros., who owns the Dukes of Hazzard series, announced it wouldn't be selling items containing the Confederate flag.
"Warner Bros. Consumer Products has one licensee producing die-cast replicas and vehicle model kits featuring the General Lee with the Confederate flag on its roof," the company noted in a release. "We have elected to cease the licensing of these product categories."
Needless to say, stars associated with the Dukes series are not happy with the show's association with the ongoing controversy. Before the series was pulled, actor Ben Jones, who played Cooter, said he would continue to sell items from the show that feature the Confederate flag.
Since the removal of Dukes of Hazzard, actor John Schneider (who played Bo Duke) spoke out about removing the show.
"The Dukes of Hazzard was and is no more a show seated in racism than Breaking Bad was a show seated in reality! I am saddened that one angry and misguided individual can cause one of the most beloved television shows in the history of the medium to suddenly be seen in this light," Schneider said. "Are people who grew up watching the show now suddenly racists? Will they have to go through a detox and a 12-step program to kick their Dukes habit? 'Hi… My name is John. I'm a Dukesoholic.'"He also uploaded a video to YouTube called "Can't We All Watch TV?".
The removal of the Dukes of Hazzard raises the question of boundaries. While the Confederate flag is often associated with bigotry in reality, does that argument lose its relevance when dealing with fictitious shows like the Dukes of Hazzard?
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[Image Credit: CBS / Warner Brothers Television]