Ben Jones, best known for playing the mechanic “Cooter” on the long-running sitcom The Dukes of Hazzard, has taken Viacom and its channel CMT, which airs daily reruns of Dukes, to task for their new reality show Party Down South, from Jersey Shore executive producer SallyAnn Salsano.
Jones, a former United States congressman, calls the heavy-drinking program about eight wild young people living together in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, “cultural pornography” and he claims that it is “without a doubt the most offensive and sleaziest thing ever to make it to a national audience already neck-deep in offensive sleaze.” (Watch a preview of the show here.)
Jones says CMT “was built by appealing to rural heartland viewers with a sense of tradition and genuine values,” but that the promotion of Party Down South throws Southerners under the bus. “You are insulting the South without a clue of the richness and diversity of our many Southern cultures,” he says, expressing concern that CMT’s raunchy, dumbed-down depiction of the South will become the “accepted truth.” (Jones may be pleased to know that Party Down South isn’t drawing big audiences just yet: The last episode pulled only 627,000 viewers.)
EW reached out to CMT for comment on Jones’ letter, but the network has no response at this time.