Them Duke Boys are in a bit of merchandising trouble these days.
Following the tragic church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina on June 17, a new national discussion arose around the Confederate Battle Flag. For many, the flag is a symbol of slavery and racist hate that should, like the Nazi flag, be relegated to museums, but for some it’s still a sign of “Southern heritage.” The debate rages on everywhere from Twitter to the legislatures of several states, but many corporations have already taken sides. Within days of the shooting, everyone from Wal-Mart to eBay had decided to stop selling merchandise featuring the flag, and now it seems Warner Bros. has also chosen to stop production of a potent pop culture symbol that features the Stars and Bars: The General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard.
Warner Bros. Consumer Products told Vulture last week that it will no longer license any die-cast models or model kits of The General Lee, because any accurate reproduction would automatically have the Confederate flag on its roof. According to the report, this decision will actually only affect a single company (there’s not exactly high demand for this particular car), and it does not mean that all merchandise tied to the show will cease production. If you’re a big Hazzard fan, you’ll still be able to buy t-shirts and posters and such, as long as the flag isn’t visible on them. And, of course, the show will still be available to watch in re-runs and via streaming services, with The General Lee intact.
Personally, I kinda like the new version the internet gave us over the weekend better…