In the current climate, it came as no surprise when Warner Bros. announced that it would no longer sanction or produce memorabilia from the 1980’s TV series Dukes of Hazzard, which features the image of the Confederate flag prominently on the top of the Duke Boys’ iconic Dodge Charger, The General Lee. On the heels of that announcement, ABC News reports that TV Land has also pulled all reruns of the show.
The Confederate flag has been thrust into the spotlight as of late, following the horrific and racially-motivated mass-shooting that occurred in Charleston South Carolina. The appalling act has many re-evaluating the symbolic meaning of the emblem. Governors from multiple states have removed the flag from government properties, and a host of retailers have stopped selling Confederate flag merchandise.
Network brass said simply that the show had been “removed,” declining to offer further comment. Reading between the lines, however, there is virtually no doubt that the actions are directly related to the use of the Confederate flag in the show, which follows the Duke boys everywhere atop their Hemi Orange ride.
While some are crying foul, the move is a reminder that, even when the “rebel flag” is connected to something fun and frivolous, it still has the capacity to offend and evoke painful emotions.
Former Congressional Democrat Ben Jones, who also played Cooter Davenport on Dukes of Hazzard, recently showed his support for the flag, and wrote the following in a Facebook post: “That flag on top of The General Lee made a statement that the values of the rural south were the values of courage and family and good times.”
The car, of course, was so named for the famous southern general who led the Confederate troops during the Civil War. The automobile is a beloved character in its own right — but it’s hard to ignore its connection to an era that saw an entire race of Americans marginalized, oppressed, and enslaved.
Going forward, fans can still catch Dukes of Hazzard on CMT, online, or on DVD/Video. No word yet on when (or if) the series will come back to TV Land.