John Schneider has never been quiet about his struggles as a vocal conservative in contemporary society. According to the actor, who rose to stardom for his role as a Confederacy-worshipping bootlegger in the ‘80s-era TV series The Dukes of Hazzard, he’s experienced bias in court and has struggled to find work, all due to his far-right views. Now Schneider is under a new level of scrutiny after publishing a tweet—since deleted—that many view as a threat against President Joe Biden.
Schneider was revealed to be the man behind the doughnut mask on the Fox singing competition The Masked Singer Wednesday, where he placed second behind singer NE-YO. “I’m a pretty strong guy, but I’m also a very emotional guy,” the actor told People the next day. “Being out there on that stage dressed like a doughnut, singing some of the greatest songs ever written, and having people respond to the songs and the performance with no notion that it was me, really, really helped John Schneider.”
What likely didn’t help John Schneider was a tweet he posted that same day. As first noted by Deadline, Schneider responded to a tweet from Biden about presidential rival Donald Trump by saying (sic throughout) “Mr. President, I believe you are guilty of treason and should be public hung. Your son too. Your response is..? Sincerely, John Schneider.”
That tweet was deleted shortly after, with Schneider denying it contained any threats. “Seriously, folks?” Schneider asked Deadline. “I absolutely did not call for an act of violence or threaten a US president as many other celebrities have done in the past. I suggest you re-read my actual post and pay attention to the words before believing this nonsense.” Vanity Fair has reached out to Schneider for comment but has not received a response as of publication time.
According to the Department of Justice, threats against the US president or their immediate family can result in federal Class D felony charges, which are punishable by up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The US Secret Service, which is responsible for presidential protection, says that the agency “is aware of the comments made by Mr. Schneider, and as a matter of practice, we do not comment on matters involving protective intelligence.”
“We can say, however, that the Secret Service investigates all threats related to our protectees.”
Schneider’s actual post does appear to be a departure from his attitude in 2018, when he was jailed for non-payment of alimony. As Fox News reported then, Schneider “alleged that his conservative values may have hurt him in court,” but said—in reference to previous president Barack Obama—“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.”
Speaking with Fox Business in 2021, Schneider said that after his conservative viewpoints put a damper on his acting career, he launched an independent production company with his wife, Alicia, who died of breast cancer earlier this year. The company’s products include a film called Christmas Cars, which, per its trailer, mounts a vigorous defense of the use of the Confederate flag.
Another film, entitled To Die For, appears to claim that people can be arrested for flying the American flag. He also seems to sell his own line of CBD products.
It’s likely those other revenue streams will become more useful for Schneider in the coming months, as even Fox appears to be turning its back on him. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the network has canceled all of Schneider’s press appearances following his troubling tweet. Then again, Schneider might dispute that characterization, too. As he said in an interview on Varney & Co. in 2021, “I like to say, you can’t cancel me. I quit.”