‘Big Sky’: The American Trucking Associations Blasts Series for ‘Tone-Deaf’ Portrayal of Industry

Created by David E. Kelley of Emmy Award-winning HBO series Big Little Lies, ABC’s Big Sky centers on several young women’s strange disappearances. After two episodes, the ABC show has already received criticism for using trauma as an entertainment plot. Additionally, the American Trucking Associations called out the series for its “tone-deaf” portrayal of the trucking industry in a lengthy blog post.

ABC's "Big Sky" stars Valerie Mahaffey as Helen Pergman, Katheryn Winnick as Jenny Hoyt, Brian Geraghty as Ronald Pergman, John Carroll Lynch as Rick Legarski, Ryan Phillippe as Cody Hoyt, Dedee Pfeiffer as Denise Brisbane, Jesse James Keitel as Jerrie, Kylie Bunbury as Cassie Dewell, Jade Pettyjohn as Grace Sullivan, and Natalie Alyn Lind as Danielle Sullivan
ABC’s “Big Sky” stars Valerie Mahaffey as Helen Pergman, Katheryn Winnick as Jenny Hoyt, Brian Geraghty as Ronald Pergman, John Carroll Lynch as Rick Legarski, Ryan Phillippe as Cody Hoyt, Dedee Pfeiffer as Denise Brisbane, Jesse James Keitel as Jerrie, Kylie Bunbury as Cassie Dewell, Jade Pettyjohn as Grace Sullivan, and Natalie Alyn Lind as Danielle Sullivan | Kharen Hill

Serial kidnapper in ‘Big Sky’ is a lonely trucker

Based on the novel The Highway by C.J. Box, ABC procedural drama series Big Sky revolves around young women’s mysterious disappearances from a small Montana town.

In the show, private detectives Cassie Dewell (Kylie Bunbury) and Cody Hoyt (Ryan Phillippe) co-own an investigation agency and got into a romantic relationship while Cody was separated from his wife.

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After two sisters (Natalie Alyn Lind and Jade Pettyjohn) go missing in their town, the detectives realize other women have disappeared in the area. They team up with Cody’s ex-wife Jenny (Katheryn Winnick), a former cop, to locate the kidnapper.

Denise (Dedee Pfeiffer), the secretary at the private investigation agency, and Rick (John Carroll Lynch), a Montana highway patrolman who seems to know more than he lets on, also round out the main cast.

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The culprit is a single long-haul trucker named Ronald (Brian Geraghty), whose mother (Valerie Mahaffey) doesn’t respect his occupation despite his firm belief that he’s “doing the Lord’s work.”

In the premiere episode, he kidnapped a sex worker (Jesse James Keitel) at a truck stop. Even though around 3 million viewers tuned into the debut, a number that doubled after three days, some didn’t care for the show, namely truckers who felt the series depicted them in a poor light.

American Trucking Associations blasts’ Big Sky’ for ‘tone-deaf’ portrayal

One of the largest national trade guilds for the trucking industry, American Trucking Associations, published a blog post titled “#BigSkyLies: The Truth About America’s Highway Heroes” and blasted the show for the way it portrayed truck drivers.

The American Trucking Assocations called Big Sky a “disgrace” for depicting truckers as serial killers and “truck stops as hubs of prostitution and human trafficking.” The coalition also made it clear it didn’t appreciate the “tasteless” portrayal and thought the series should’ve shown how truckers have helped supply crucial products amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additionally, the association stated it believes truck drivers “deserve the praise of a grateful nation” similar to other front-line workers. It also noted truckers deliver supplies despite closed rest stops that leave the truck drivers without places to stop and eat, sleep, or use the bathroom.

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Noting an event President Donald Trump held at the White House in which he honored truckers, referring to them as the “lifeblood of our economy,” the American Trucking Associations said it felt others are finally recognizing how important truck drivers are to the “standard of living.”

As a result, the truckers represented found the ABC series incredibly “insulting and demoralizing.” Big Sky airs Tuesdays at 10/9 Central on ABC.