And the controversy keeps on going…
As the former hit television show storyline dictated, the Duke boys constantly got into trouble. Now the Dukes of Hazzard reruns seem to be the source of contention.
In the wake of the tragic church shootings, which left nine dead, confessed mass killer Dylann Roof is pictured in a photo embracing the Confederate flag, a knee-jerk reaction is in motion to stamp out all use of the symbol of the Confederacy. A majority associate the flag with the defense of slavery and white supremacy. Others see it as a symbol of freedom, rebellion against authority and living for the moment.
The iconic pop culture fixture ’69 Dodge Charger, dubbed the General Lee, a character in its own right and a fixture on the 80s Dukes of Hazzard television series, sports the “stars and bars” on its’ roof. TV Land has bowed to pressure over the Confederate flag and has pulled the show from its lineup.
Major retailers like Wal-Mart, Sears, Amazon and eBay all announced bans on the sale of Confederate flag merchandise, even the toy General Lee car will no longer be produced. Warner Bros. Consumer Products recently announced it would not license any products showcasing the “stars and bars.”
In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, actor John Schneider who played Bo Duke on the television show defended the series’ use of the flag.
“Labeling anyone who has the flag a ‘racist’ seems unfair to those who are clearly ‘never meanin’ no harm.'”
Co-star Ben Jones, who played Cooter, has also come out in defense of the flag, saying it represents the “indomitable spirit of independence.”
The Parents Television Council was not opposed to TV Land‘s actions, but the council did condemn the network and its parent company, Viacom, for “blatant hypocrisy” they say the media company demonstrated.
“When media companies are criticized for marketing programs that glamorize drug and alcohol use, or for sexualizing [sic] minors in television programs and movies, or for selling violent entertainment to children – despite overwhelming evidence of harm – or for trivializing [sic] rape, child sex abuse and pedophilia, all in the name of ‘entertainment,’ they are quick to wrap themselves in the banner of Free Speech,” wrote PTC president Tim Winter.
“Restraint and responsibility do not infringe on the First Amendment and do not encroach on Free Speech rights. If TV Land is willing to pull The Dukes of Hazzard, out of concern for its harmful impact on our society (and it is good that Viacom is publicly acknowledging its programming can have a harmful impact on our society,) they cannot then hide behind the First Amendment to refute the compelling evidence of harm from the violent and sexualized media content they continue to produce and air with impunity.”
Basically, the PTC is pointing out that TV Land is picking and choosing its’ battles. They are willing to pull The Dukes of Hazzard from their programming lineup, while hiding behind the First Amendment, to protect their right to air other programs that display overwhelming evidence of harm to children.
So, where are the parents to monitor what their children are watching?
The Dukes of Hazzard aired on the CBS television network from January 26, 1979 to February 8, 1985 for a total of 145 episodes.
Sources: thehollywoodreporter, IMDb