TV Land has dropped "Dukes of Hazzard" reruns from its lineup in the midst of the Confederate flag flap that has engulfed the nation since the Charleston shooting last month.
The network dropped the classic show Wednesday after facing backlash over the iconic 1969 "General Lee" Dodge Charger, which has a Confederate flag painted on its roof, according to The Hollywood Reporter
. The flag, once a symbol of the South, has been dubbed offensive in the wake of the Charleston church shooting that killed nine people June 17. Warner Bros.’ consumer division announced last week they it would also stop selling the car’s toy model.
Gy Waldron, "Dukes of Hazzard" creator, defended the show's Confederate flag car in a 2001 documentary.
“Painting the Confederate flag on the roof of the car was done very innocently,” he said, according to The Washington Post
. “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."
On Wednesday, actor John Schneider, who played Bo Duke on the popular 1970s-1980s show, released a video entitled “Can’t We All Watch TV?” in which he defended the Confederate flag as an American symbol rather than a racist one and maintained that his show is not racist.
“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 posited, according to The Post.
Fans of the show have launched a Change.org petition to encourage Viacom, Warner Bros., Walmart, and eBay to lift their bans on the series. The petition was created on Tuesday and has already gotten more than 700 signatures, according to Entertainment Weekly.
Other stars of "Dukes of Hazzard" also took to social media to express their discontent and belief that the flag is not a racist symbol:
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