Fans of the Dukes of Hazzard were ecstatic to see John Schneider returning to behind the wheel of the iconic Dodge Charger from the series in his film Christmas Cars. But that didn't come without a look back on some controversy surrounding the iconic car, The General Lee.
Part of the plot presented in the trailer for Christmas Cars sees Schneider's character, Uncle Denver, run into some issues with his plan to sell memorabilia featuring himself and the iconic car. It's something that reflects reality a bit because many called for the Confederate flag to be removed from the roof of the vehicle, calling it a racist symbol that reflects poorly on the show.
As it plays out in the trailer, Schneider doesn't agree and is out to do his best to prove that it's heritage not hate when it comes to The General Lee.
"Symbols don't hurt people. People hurt people," Schneider says near the middle of the trailer. We also get to see some of the faux online backlash to the car, including a Photoshop of Schneider from the classic series.
The film itself is partially based on reality as Schneider faced many of the hardships that his character did back in 2016. His independent studio was flooded back in 2016, he was hit with residual issues from his divorce and then also had to contend with real-life controversy over the car and its use of the Confederate flag.
In reality, Schneider took a far stronger stand in support of the flag, the General Lee and the Dukes of Hazzard.
"Throwing this particular baby out with the bath water seems reactionary and overly PC to me," Schneider said back in 2015 according to The Hollywood Reporter. "Some people are narrow-minded extremists that in no way represent a majority. The man who committed this horrific act clearly fits into that category. Those who watched the Dukes would likely agree that the first person to offer forgiveness, as the members of the church and family did, would be Uncle Jesse. Very sad. Labeling anyone who has the flag a ‘racist’ seems unfair to those who are clearly ‘never meanin’ no harm.' "
The man Schneider is referencing above is Dylann Roof, the murderer of nine African Americans in a church June 17, 2015. Schneider would continue his defense of the vehicle and the flag as a symbol of pride in another chat later in July 2015 after TV Land and other networks dropped Dukes of Hazzard to avoid controversy.0comments
“I am saddened that one angry and misguided individual can cause one of the most beloved television shows in the history of the medium to suddenly be seen in this light," Schneider told The Hollywood Reporter. "Are people who grew up watching the show now suddenly racists? Will they have to go through a detox and a 12-step program to kick their Dukes habit? ‘Hi... My name is John. I'm a Dukesoholic.’"
It is safe to say that the actor and country singer still holds to these beliefs. And if his film becomes a hit, we might end up seeing the controversy return again.