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In the wake of the shootings in Charleston, people have been up in arms about the Confederate battle flag and its intent. This has led to the removal of the flag from certain retailers and has had one unintended consequence: the removal of Dukes of Hazzard General Lee toy products by parent company Warner Bros and the removal of old episodes of the iconic program from cable. Now, Dukes of Hazzard actor John Schneider is speaking up about the General Lee controversy and he is not pleased by the turn of events. Here’s what he had to say:
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. 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.
The actor’s statements were made to THR, but he’s also been outspoken about the Dukes of Hazzard controversy on social media, as well, discussing that dropping of the beloved show because of the main characters' car featuring a Confederate flag. He feels dropping the show equates to protesting Gold's Gym since the shooter was also photographed wearing a t-shirt for the exercise franchise while burning a flag.
It’s not just the General Lee products that have been pulled. Earlier this week, TV Land also confirmed that they had pulled all episodes of Dukes of Hazzard from syndication on their channel, which means fans of the show will have to look elsewhere for new content. The channel has not indicated whether or not reruns will ever resume on the station. Currently, reruns are still happening on CMT, and can be viewed via Amazon Instant Streaming.
The Confederate battle flag debate has been all over the news in the time following the tragic church shootings in South Carolina. It’s weird to think a TV show that begin airing in the late 1970s has proven to be such a sticking point, but given all that's happened, it's easy to see why this would be considered a final straw for some. Is painting over the Confederate flag on top of the General Lee re-writing history? Is it a reasonable step given the strides we've made over the past few decades? These are all questions without easy answers, and at least for the short-term, some older shows, movies and pieces of music are going to be caught in the crosshairs, retrospectively analyzed using today's morality.