'Dukes Of Hazzard' Stars Defend The Show Amid Confederate Flag Controversy
The Dukes of Hazzard stars Tom Wopat and John Schneider have spoken out amid backlash against use of the Confederate flag. Read their remarks on the '80s TV series and The General Lee.
The "Dukes" have spoken out as resistance mounts against relics of the Confederacy. In particular, stars Tom Wopat and John Schneider want to address the legacy of the show's iconic '69 Dodge Charger—The General Lee—and its prominent rooftop display of the Confederate flag.
However, it turns out that Wopat ("Luke Duke") and Schneider ("Bo Duke") have divergent perspectives on today's social and political movements, which argue that the Confederate flag is a symbol of hatred with roots in the slave-era U.S.
Dukes of Hazzard cast on the Confederate flag and General Lee
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday, Schneider defended The Dukes of Hazzard and denounced the efforts of "the whole politically correct generation," which, he says, "has gotten way out of hand."
"I have never had an African American come up to me and have any problem with [The General Lee] whatsoever," Schneider, 60, said.
However, the now 68-year-old Wopat reflects on social change with a more welcoming mindset than his on-screen cousin.
"The situation in the country has obviously changed in the last 40 years," he told THR. "I feel fortunate to be living in a time when we can address some of the injustices of the past."
As for The General Lee, Wopat adds: "But the car is innocent."
Dukes of Hazzard car, The General Lee, prompts division
As part of the THR interview, Hazzard creator Gy Waldron said that he does "wholeheartedly support the Black Lives Matter movement and its quest to address racism around the world."
"No one even connected the Confederate flag with slavery. It was simply a part of our Southern culture," Waldron, 87, added.
Despite his dismissive attitude toward "political correctness," Schneider also expressed hope that his TV series can serve as a "unifying force" in the future, however unlikely that may seem.
"Mom, grandma, everyone wanted to watch [The Dukes of Hazzard] together. But who benefits from division?" he asked. "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."
The Dukes of Hazzard aired for seven seasons on CBS from 1979 to 1985.