Late last month, we reported that the Northeast Ohio Dukes, a stunt group that recreates jump scenes from action movies and shows like the Dukes of Hazzard, was going to perform a Smokey and the Bandit tribute jump at the Detroit Autorama in March.
Unfortunately, that jump may now be called off after Detroit City Council expressed their disapproval of the jump due to the potential that the car could have a Confederate flag on it.
The original Smokey and the Bandit Pontiac Trans Am had a front license plate with the former Georgia state flag on it, which features the Confederate battle emblem. It seems that for this reason, Detroit city council assumed that the Northeast Ohio Dukes’ stunt car would have the same license plate on it and thus rejected Autorama’s request for permission to host the stunt jump in Detroit’s downtown core.
In a statement released on its Facebook page, the Northeast Ohio Dukes said their stunt car does not have the former Georgia state flag on it and that they had never planned to feature such a license plate on the vehicle.
“This is the world we now live in, just because the movie had the Georgia state flag on the front of the car. The Detroit city council has jumped to conclusions,” the group said. “We have been filming a documentary about the build of the Bandit Jump car and it proves that the car does not feature the Georgia state flag of that era.”
The Northeast Ohio Dukes jumped a Dukes of Hazzard General Lee replica car at Detroit Autorama back in 2017, which featured the car’s well-known Confederate battle insignia on the roof. Detroit city council appears to have claimed that they asked the group to remove the flag from the car for that jump, but the Northeast Ohio Dukes dispute this. A video of that jump is embedded above.
“We were never told to take the flag off of the General Lee back in 2017, that is a downright lie,” the group said. “If we were told to take the flag off the General Lee we would have never even went to Detroit. We’re just children of the 70s and 80s that want to jump a car to honor a great man and now politics and racist people have taken that away from all of us. We have always strongly and publicly denounced any white supremacy or hate groups and any type of misrepresentation of the battle flag.”
On Tuesday, Detroit councilman Scott Benson claimed the group “still proudly flies a Confederate flag, which is a symbol of oppression, slavery, as well as home-bred American terrorism. So this body said we are not going to support that type of symbolism nor the audacity to support that type of activity in the city of Detroit.”
It’s not clear if the jump will go forward, but Autorama is believed to be in talks with Detroit city council over the matter. We’ll provide an update on the situation as more details come to light.
(source: The Detroit News)