John Schneider found his recent experience behind bars “life-changing” and believes it’s time for his fellow Hollywood stars to “come out of the Republican closet.”
The “Dukes of Hazzard” star has had some rocky times as of late and had an eye-opening encounter with the law on Tuesday that reinforced his conservative views while emphasizing the need for his like-minded colleagues to be more vocal.
“I do think there’s a bias against conservatives, Republicans, in Hollywood, but I think if you let that alter how you are, then I question how you are,” he told Fox News. “If you believe it, speak it, live it.”
“I supported the last president [even though] I didn’t vote for him, but I supported him because I believe that’s my duty as a United States citizen,” Schneider said. “The difference here is that I did vote [for Trump] and I don’t mind people knowing that.”
The 58-year-old actor thinks his conservative ideals may have impacted him negatively in the courtroom where he was sentenced Monday to three days in jail for unpaid alimony.
“[Within the] court system, I was treated like I was guilty until proven innocent, like a second-class citizen,” he told Fox News after returning to his Louisiana home following a five-hour stay in the L.A. County jail.
Schneider’s estranged wife, Elvira Castle, filed for divorce in 2014 following their 1993 marriage. The actor, who played Bo Duke on the television series from 1979 to 1985, admitted he was unable to make the more than $150k in back alimony payments because he has hit hard financial times.
“Going to jail was nothing like I ever imagined it was going to be,” Schneider told Fox News. “First of all, I was given no preferential treatment at all except they didn’t detain me with the general population.
“I was arrested, I was searched, I was handcuffed, I had my wallet and my phone and they took my belt and shoelaces and it was put into a plastic bag,” the actor said. “It was totally life-changing.”
Schneider even recorded a video of himself on his way to serve his sentence.
And while the judicial system left him with a bad impression, Schneider was full of praise for the guards in the L.A. County jail.
“I never saw anything but people being treated with respect with dignity and with humor, which really surprised me, and whatever authority they needed to show in order to keep everybody safe,” he said, adding he was “so very impressed with every aspect of the penal system.”
Schneider, who had a part in the CW series “Smallville” from 2001 to 2006, revealed that if he had the funds, he would have made the payments to avoid the jail time.
“If I had it [money], I would’ve given it to her just to let this go away but I don’t have it,” he said Tuesday.
Instead, the actor claimed he had lost a substantial amount of money repairing his Louisiana movie studio after it was destroyed in a March 2016 flood.
“It’s common sense versus entitlement. I’ve worked seven days a week, 80 hours a week, at least since 1978,” he told Fox News before he went to jail.
“I have, as every working person has, a mountain of debt that was attached to my dream,” he explained. “And there’s a group now that somehow feels they’re entitled to life or even luxury without work and the judicial system apparently agrees with that.”
The actor was released after only serving a few hours due to “overcrowding,” according to TMZ which reported that “Schneider still has to do 240 hours of community service, and complete a long list of financial obligations, or he’ll get an additional 5-day sentence.”
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