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Amazon Weighs The Dukes of Hazzard’s Streaming Future

Bullet Club

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Amazon Weighs The Dukes of Hazzard’s Streaming Future



NASCAR has banned the display of the Confederate flag on race cars. HBO Max pulled Gone With the Wind. And now, Buffering hears a problematic classic on Amazon Prime Video’s sister streamer IMDb TV — The Dukes of Hazzard — could soon be driving off the service.

The 1980s comedy-drama about two “good ol’ boys never meanin’ no harm” was a smash hit for most of its seven-season run on CBS, and also had a long life in reruns for decades on channels such as CMT and TV Land. But in recent years, Dukes has rightly raised a ruckus because one of the show’s inanimate co-stars — the General Lee race car — is painted with a Confederate flag, the racist symbol of traitorous rebels. Buffering has learned Amazon is currently considering whether the show should remain on the platform, with a spokesperson for the service telling us the show has been flagged internally for review as execs revisit and evaluate their overall content guidelines. This could lead to the show exiting IMDb TV, though it’s also possible Amazon could opt to keep the status quo.

If the series does get the boot, it wouldn’t be the first time those Duke boys have been disappeared. Back in 2015, the show’s studio, Warner Bros. TV, announced it would stop licensing images of the car to toy-makers and other merchandisers following the mass murder of nine people in a South Carolina church by a white supremacist who proudly posed for pictures with the flag. Around the same time, ViacomCBS (then known as Viacom) dropped the series from TV Land, realizing it wasn’t appropriate to air a show with racist imagery at a time of national trauma. Fans of the show complained, but the world moved on.

And yet despite the backlash of 2015, Dukes quietly made a comeback via streaming about two years ago. At some point in 2018, Amazon added the show to its ad-free Prime Video subscription service, where it was one of thousands of TV shows and movies available to stream at no additional cost beyond membership in Amazon Prime. It streamed on Prime Video for at least a year, before appearing to once again go out of circulation for a few months, based on social-media posts from fans lamenting its absence.

By the start of his year, however, Dukes popped back up on an Amazon platform, though not Prime Video: It moved to IMDb TV, the company’s free, ad-supported service available to anyone with an internet connection (though it’s optimized to work best for anyone with a Prime Video subscription or Amazon Fire TV device. A source familiar with the matter notes that Dukes didn’t end up on IMDb TV as part of a deal specifically for the show (the way, say, HBO Max made a deal to grab Friends from Netflix). Instead, the series was part of a package of content leased to Amazon by Warner Bros.

In recent days, at least partially in response to protests related to the killing of George Floyd and a broader national reckoning over race in America, several major Amazon rivals have dropped programming not seen as suitable for these times:

• Newly launched HBO Max suddenly pulled Gone With the Wind on Tuesday, quickly clarifying that the movie was removed so that the platform could add explanation and context regarding its racist depictions (much as sister cable network TCM has done during its showings of the film). It will be readded to the service at some point, a platform spokesperson said.

• Netflix and Britbox this week dropped U.K. comedy Little Britain because several episodes include the show’s characters dressed in blackface. The BBC, where the show first aired, has dropped it from its iPlayer service.

• And on the linear front, A&E on Wednesday pulled the plug on its massively successful Live PD franchise, while Paramount Network has canceled its revival of Cops.

It’s worth noting that Dukes has never faced any protests over the scripted content of the show, save perhaps from TV critics at the time who lamented how silly and stupid the show could be. It didn’t use blackface; it didn’t delve into politics. When TV Land pulled the show in 2015, the decision seemed entirely related to the use of the flag, which was in the news because of the Dylann Roof shooting. A critic for Time argued then against the need to completely erase the show from TV, even if he didn’t take issue with its removal from TV Land: “The Dukes of Hazzard — like any TV in our past — is part of us, whether we watch it or not,” he wrote, though noting he understood being “weirded out by the awesome stunt car flying the flag of slavery.”

And indeed, even if Amazon does pull Dukes, the show is unlikely to be buried away in a vault, unavailable for viewing. Like Gone With the Wind, episodes and full seasons will almost surely still be available for purchase on iTunes and other platforms (including Amazon’s own digital video store); DVDs are still around, too. What Warner Media and Netflix have done this week, and what Amazon may do, is acknowledge that all shows and movies don’t need to be given a platform on major streaming services at all times, particularly without added context or the proper framing.

One last thought: In the case of Dukes, critics might note that the reasons that made it appropriate for TV Land to drop the show in 2015 didn’t go away in 2018 when the series returned via Prime Video. The Confederate flag didn’t become any less racist, and Amazon (along with studio Warner Bros. TV) didn’t add anything to the series to note its disapproval of the flag in the show. What did fade away was the spotlight, as Americans moved on to other controversies and concerns. Hopefully, 2020 will be different.

Source: Vulture

 

haxan7

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Last hurrah of the woke. They want to equate the confederate flag with the Nazi flag. It’s just another angle of attack for them; they don’t care that nazis actually murdered millions of civilians and unleashed a war that killed tens of millions more.

however, the disruption they’ve caused is just castles made of sand. Trump’s re-election will defeat them so completely that a lot of them will become normal productive Americans who adopt their own form of patriotism.

 

Weiji

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*licks finger and puts it up in the air*

I’d say we’re a good two years from vandalizing and destroying the statues at KFC because his outfit is a symbol of oppression.
 

Cravis

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I made sure to grab a 1:18 scale die cast model of the General Lee when they quietly put them back into production. Keeping it in the box. Did have to open it to remove the large orange sticker they had on the roof covering the confederate flag lol
 

ExpandKong

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Jan 9, 2018
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In before the usual suspects get in here to tell us how totally okay they are with this and how it’s just one old tv show
 
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DESTROYA

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Why are they trying to change history? You can’t just erase the past like it never existed.
Last thing I think of being racist is the general Lee
 

Nymphae

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And indeed, even if Amazon does pull Dukes, the show is unlikely to be buried away in a vault, unavailable for viewing. Like Gone With the Wind, episodes and full seasons will almost surely still be available for purchase on iTunes and other platforms (including Amazon’s own digital video store); DVDs are still around, too.

So is it just a virtue signal then or do they really think this encourages some sort of change somewhere?
 

Blond

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I'm really how a show that routinely had Black characters and was more about two guys causing general chaos in their town and stopping bad guys is racist: especially since the show featured absolutely no hint of racism whatsoever.
 
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Kreen101

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There is no way Blazing Saddles is going to survive this shit. Even though it's mocking racism.

Where is the pushback? Why is the silent majority so, well, silent? Trump himself needs to lead the charge against this. I think he might get reelected if he runs on an anti-PC platform.
 

Wheeljack539

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Am I the only one that always saw the confederate flag as some southern redneck bullshit and not a symbol of racism?


That would also be me. Dukes debuted a year before I was born and I live in Southern California and the show was the only place I ever saw the Rebel Flag. As a young child I absolutely loved the show and was fascinated by the General Lee and its chases. I had several Hot Wheels toys of it, a General Lee penny/piggy bank along with a General Lee trike. Along with how the show was and how Bo and Luke were the Good Guys I never saw the flag as a bad thing. Hell, I more or less think of it as damn nice clean design. Though Dukes had long passed off the air when I learned about the Civil War in school the Rebel Flag was just another flag to me.

Hell, I remember someone saying why not just take the flag off the car and someone rightly responded it would be like removing the S from Superman.

And just to add. While many young'uns know "Uncle Jesse" as Jesse Katsopolis from Full House and while he's always been cool I have but one Uncle Jesse and that is Jesse Duke.



RIP Denver Pyle.
 
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Thaedolus

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Show is lame but this ain’t the way...

What we should really do is erase all baseball records and highlight reels from before Jackie Robinson. THAT is what needs to be done to quickly end racism. And eliminate the Yankees.
 

Dural

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It's not even the Confederate flag, it the battle flag, and has been a symbol of rebellion and the south, not slavery. The only people that seem to see it as a symbol of slavery are these far left idiots that have no attachment to it.
 
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-Arcadia-

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I'm really rather actually enjoying this.

All the people I've argued with over the past decade, are seeing all the things I said would come to pass if they didn't act, rammed down their throat.

It's petty, but I deserve a little petty. They should enjoy their new world.
 

Karmic Raze

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I never associated the General Lee or The Dukes of Hazzard with racism, but I guess if there’s something to complain and bitch about these days somebody’s going to do it. Woke society is a fucking joke.
 

Hulk_Smash

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I'm really how a show that routinely had Black characters and was more about two guys causing general chaos in their town and stopping bad guys is racist: especially since the show featured absolutely no hint of racism whatsoever.

There were a couple of episodes where Uncle Jesse and the boys dealt with some racism and they always turned into a “The More You Know” kind of lesson.
 
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VGEsoterica

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I hope they don’t 86 the Duke Boys. Sucks it would take a painstaking amount of work to remove the confederate flag from the General Lee. It’s in like damn near 50% of the shots of every episode
 

brap

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I hope they don’t 86 the Duke Boys. Sucks it would take a painstaking amount of work to remove the confederate flag from the General Lee. It’s in like damn near 50% of the shots of every episode
They'll just do what WWE did and blur every instance of it

 

NOLA_Gaffer

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They'll just do what WWE did and blur every instance of it


They could probably rig up some automated AI-driven software to paint over all instances of the confederate flag easily. The question is whether enough people give a shit for them to put the time and money into such an endeavor.
 
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#Phonepunk#

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Lol the topic is about flags what do you mean “what the fuck does this have to do” it’s literally the topic

antifa flag good confederates bad

antifa are people burning and looting and making demands NOW whereas confederates are literal ancient history with no power at all

yet antifa flag is ok lol sure
 
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YOu know...someone needs to start making confederate flags with ANTIFA on them...post it everywhere on social media, make it normal..confuse the fuck out of everyone
 

Echelon

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When will Mark Twain get cancelled? He uses the THE DREAD WORD in that redneck yokel mississippi novel of his. Very problematic.
 

Karmic Raze

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I love how they compare the Confederate flag to the Nazi flag. Yeah, like that makes sense.
 

Thaedolus

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I love how they compare the Confederate flag to the Nazi flag. Yeah, like that makes sense.

What makes sense is how the Germans treat swastikas now, not how mouth breathers have rebranded the confederate battle flag as something acceptable to fly at American public buildings. Private businesses can do whatever they want.
 

Karmic Raze

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What makes sense is how the Germans treat swastikas now, not how mouth breathers have rebranded the confederate battle flag as something acceptable to fly at American public buildings. Private businesses can do whatever they want.

I don’t think it should be flying at public buildings.
 
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