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The largest and most comprehensive national trade association for the trucking industry is calling out ABC for what it says is a "tasteless" representation of truckers in its latest series "Big Sky."
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In a blog post titled, "#BigSkyLies: The Truth about America’s Highway Heroes," the American Trucking Associations (ATA) calls the series a "disgrace" for allegedly portraying truck drivers as "serial killers and truck stops as hubs of prostitution and human trafficking."
CORONAVIRUS CAN'T STOP TRUCKERS: LONG-HAUL TRIPS CONTINUE AT NEAR-NORMAL LEVELS, STUDY SHOWS
The new thriller from writer David E. Kelley, which debuted on Nov. 17, follows a team of private detectives that joins forces with an ex-cop as they search for sisters who have been kidnapped by a truck driver on a remote highway in Montana.
However, the ATA lambasts the network for its "offensive, inaccurate, tasteless, ill-timed," and "tone-deaf" portrayal of the industry. The association also asserts that the show "misses the mark at an important moment" when truckers have stepped up to help keep critical supplies flowing throughout communities amid widespread shutdowns.
"As the pandemic made clear, our country owes its strength to the resilience of the American trucker," the blog post reads. "While other professions assumed the luxury of working from home, duty called truckers to the road."
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According to the ATA, truck drivers are the reason "hospitals remained supplied, first responders remained equipped and store shelves remained stocked." And like all other front-line workers, they "deserve the praise of a grateful nation" ATA says.
A study published in April underlined how the trucking industry continued to deliver at near-normal levels when the pandemic first struck.
According to a study from data analytics firm INRIX, commercial truck travel only declined by 13% since lockdown measures were implemented in mid-March, while personal travel was down nearly 50%.
Keeping up this critical work was no easy task, ATA says.
As truckers continued to work during the pandemic, they faced "unimaginable conditions" including closed highway rest stops, "leaving truckers with no place to eat, no place to rest, and no place to use the bathroom."
However, the industry has been lauded for its efforts in keeping the supply chain flowing. In April, President Trump held an event at the White House to specifically honor truck drivers whom he called the “lifeblood of our economy.”
“In the war against the virus, American truckers are the foot soldiers who are carrying us to victory,” Trump said at the event.
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It's these very praises that have "made a world of difference" for truckers, according to ATA.
"For the first time, they felt Americans were widely recognizing the value of their work and how essential they are to our economy and standard of living," the association said. "Which is why 'Big Sky' is so insulting and demoralizing."
The group argues that the show now leaves an "unflattering, untrue and unwarranted" impression.
Despite the fierce criticism, the ABC premiere on Nov. 17 garnered quite a large audience, gaining over 3 million total viewers, according to Deadline. The show also nearly doubled viewership to 7.2 million among adults ages 18 to 49 after three days of playback, the outlet reported.
Representatives for ABC have not immediately responded to FOX Business' request for comment.
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