The Confederate flag may or may not be removed from government buildings in South Carolina, but the relic is definitely being removed from at least one southern icon. Warner Bros. today announced that it was halting production of toys and replicas of the General Lee, the car from the Dukes of Hazzard, which famously bore the flag on its roof. The company follows in the footsteps of retailers Amazon, Sears, eBay, and Walmart, all of whom elected to ban sales of the Confederate flag and its image this week after the racially motivated murders in Charleston on Sunday.
As recently as 2012 Warner Bros. quashed rumors that it was planning to remove the Confederate flag from toy versions of the General Lee. “We were not and are not planning to change design of the General Lee on merchandise,” the company said at the time, after a Tomy sales representative reportedly indicated production would cease in 2013. Ben Jones, the actor who portrayed Cooter in the 1970s Dukes of Hazzard TV show and an ex-Democratic congressman, responded to the rumors in a press release. “Some unnamed genius at the company feels that the flag is ‘offensive to some’ and therefore it has no business on a classic TV comedy about a bunch of good ol’ boys and girls in the Southern mountains,” he wrote. “This is a new level of ‘P.C.’ idiocy. I don’t know about you, but I am tired of being insulted by morons.”
It’s not clear whether Warner Bros. will continue to sell versions of the car with the flag removed, and if so, whether the company will need to change the General Lee’s name. The muscle car’s moniker is, after all, also a reference to the Confederacy, being named after the leader of the losing side’s armies.