The Duke boys are being put on the bench.
It is confirmed that TV Land has pulled reruns of Dukes of Hazzard in light of the recent uproar over the Confederate flag, which is emblazoned on the roof of the show’s iconic General Lee 1969 Dodge Charger.
The show has faced criticism over the depiction of the controversial flag in the wake of the June 17 shooting in Charleston, S.C., that left nine dead, and what many viewed as South Carolina’s delayed decision to take the flag down.
Confederate merchandise has since been dropped by Walmart, Target, Amazon and other businesses after the shooting, which took place at a historic black church.
Shortly after the attack, photos surfaced showing alleged shooter Dylann Roof burning one American flag and stepping on another, while waving and posing provocatively with Confederate banners.
Warner Bros.’ consumer division announced on June 24 that it will stop licensing toy cars and models featuring the General Lee with the flag.
In a recent interview, Dukes of Hazzard star John Schneider 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,'” he said. His co-star Ben Jones has also come out in defense of the flag, saying it represents the “indomitable spirit of independence.”
The Parents Television Council weighed in TV Land’s decision Wednesday. Although the organization said they did not oppose the reasoning behind TV Land’s actions, the council blasted 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 minors in television programs and movies, or for selling violent entertainment to children – despite overwhelming evidence of harm – or for trivializing 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.”
Dukes of Hazzard ran on CBS from 1979 to 1985.