The Dukes of Hazzard may leave Amazon Prime's streaming service amid concerns that the show's use of the Confederate flag as its de facto logo is alienating to audience members who view the flag as a symbol of racism and oppression. The series, which is available to stream via Amazon's IMDb TV, ran for seven seasons on CBS and went on to become a staple in syndication for much longer, as well as spinning off a live-action follow-up, an animated one, and numerous video games, TV movies, direct-to-video movies, and a couple of theatrical films. But with "The General Lee" -- the Dukes's car, which has a giant Confederate battle flag on the roof -- front and center in every episode, the show is often at the center of controversy.
Toys and other collectibles have been phased out of major retailers in recent years, and the series has more or less disappeared from cable after years populating nostalgia- and Southern-skewing networks like TV Land and CMT. For a longtime, the argument championed by a lot of Southern people that the flag is just a symbol of "Southern pride" insulated Dukes from serious criticism, but in more recent years, the larger conversation about the Confederate flag and the efficacy of the "pride" argument has brought the show front and center.
Per a report at Vulture, the retail and streaming giant is not committed to removing the series from its platform but is weighing its options. Those options presumably include maintaining the status quo and making no changes to the current programming strategy.
In 2015, Warner Bros. Television stopped licensing the General Lee's license to toy manufacturers, and later that year Viacom pulled the series from circulation on TV Land. As in the case of the recent Cops cancellation, both of those decisions were seen as largely symbolic since Dukes had not been selling toys or drawing viewers in huge numbers for a while. The 2015 changes came in response to a terror attack on a mostly-Black church by a white supremacist in South Carolina. Nine people died in the attack, and during the examination of the killer's social media records, authorities and media organizations found photos of him posing with the Confederate flag.
The series being pulled from TV Land sparked a petition campaign to bring it back, but there was no sustained movement and quickly enough even its fans were on to the next thing. The series is still available inexpensively on DVD, so those who felt the loss most sharply could spend a little money and see it whenever they wanted.
The series has been available more or less consistently since 2018 on Amazon or IMDb.
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