Put up your dukes! The Dukes of Hazzard star John Schneider had some fightin’ words for TV Land after the network decided to pull reruns of the hit '80s show from the air over its iconic use of the Confederate flag.
TV Land confirmed Wednesday that they had decided to stop airing the series following the ongoing controversy surrounding the Confederate flag. Numerous other businesses and corporations have similarly cut ties with the flag since Dylann Roof, who was a supporter of the Confederacy, opened fire on a historically black church in Charleston, S.C., on June 17.
In the series, the Confederate flag is displayed prominently on the roof of the characters’ iconic Dodge Charger, General Lee.
But Schneider, who played Bo Duke opposite other leads Tom Wopat and Catherine Bach, insisted that TV Land’s decision to drop the show was “an error.”
“Do I think taking Dukes off TV is silly? Yes, of course,” he said in a YouTube rant posted on Wednesday, July 1. “Do I think it’s an error? Yes. Because Dukes of Hazzard was one of the most beloved shows ever. And now it’s being cast in a terrible light that it does not deserve.”
“The thing that you need to understand is that people have lost their lives,” the former heartthrob continued, referring to the Confederate soldiers who lost their lives in the Civil War.
“This is not about a television show, it’s not about a flag, it’s not about white or black or yellow or blue or green or gold, it’s about the fact that people have lost their lives and that is what we should be thinking about.”
Earlier in the day, the actor tweeted a photo of Roof burning an American flag while wearing a Gold’s Gym shirt, with the caption, “I am grossly offended by flag burning. But …is the Gold’s Gym logo to be considered a symbol of racism as well now?”
Schneider later told The Hollywood Reporter that he was “kidding” about his tweet, but added, “Come on, TV Land, can’t we all just watch TV?”
This isn’t the first time General Lee has made waves. In a 2001 documentary about the making of The Dukes of Hazzard, series creator Gy Waldron said that the use of the Confederate flag was not intended to be controversial.
“Painting the Confederate flag on the roof of the car was done very innocently,” he said in the documentary, “because in the ‘50s and ‘60s it was very common to find Confederate flags painted on cars.”
“There was never a political statement to be made by it. It was just part of the tradition. And once we had put it in there I saw no reason to bow to any pressure groups. We’re not making any statement regarding slavery or post-slavery or integration or anything like that.”
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