“The Dukes of Hazzard” stars have spoken out about the controversy surrounding the show and its use of Confederate imagery.
The show, which aired on CBS from 1979 to 1985, features the Confederate battle flag painted on the roof of the General Lee, the famous orange ’69 Dodge Charger.
Despite suffering a backlash from some, the stars jumped to the show’s defence.
Tom Wopat, who played Luke Duke, told The Hollywood Reporter: “The situation in the country has obviously changed in the last 40 years. I feel fortunate to be living in a time when we can address some of the injustices of the past.”
“But the car is innocent,” he added.
John Schneider, who played Bo Duke, went on, “I have never had an African-American come up to me and have any problem with it whatsoever,” adding that he thinks the politically correct generation “has gotten way out of hand.”
The show’s creator, Gy Waldron, who grew up in Lenoxburg, Kentucky, said: “I had relatives fight on both sides of the Civil War and we honoured both the American and Confederate flags.
“No one even connected the Confederate flag with slavery. It was simply a part of our Southern culture.”
Waldron, however, insists he “wholeheartedly support[s] the Black Lives Matter movement and its quest to address racism around the world.”
Schneider called the show a “unifying force,” telling the publication: “Mom, grandma, everyone wanted to watch it together. But who benefits from division?
“‘The Dukes of Hazzard’ has been shot down, I believe unfairly. We haven’t missed a generation yet, but we may miss this next one,” he added of different age groups being huge fans of the show.
It’s even been suggested that bosses could digitally remove the Confederate imagery from the car in order to move past this. However, Ben Jones, who played Cooter and now runs fan conventions, insisted: “That would be like taking the ‘S’ off of Superman’s chest.”
This isn’t the first time the General Lee has instigated discussion. Back in 2015, after Dylann Roof murdered nine Black congregants in a South Carolina church, TV Land, the only network airing the series at the time, took the show off the air.
It has yet to return to broadcast TV, though it is available to stream on Amazon.