As the sequel of Space Jam, Space Jam: A New Legacy is awaiting release, one character who had starred along with Michael Jordon 25 years ago, has been canceled from the show. Warner Bros. have confirmed that Pepe Le Pew will not feature in the film.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Loony Tunes has permanently retired the character of Pepe Le Pew. The studio said that he will not be a part of any feature film nor will be a part of the new series of the cartoon Loony Tunes which HBO Max is streaming.
The New York Times Opinion writer Charles M. Blow had listed Pepe LePew and two other characters Speedy Gonzalez and Tom and Jerry’s Mammy Two Shoes as childhood animated cartoons that leave a poor impression, on a March 3 column.
Pepe Le Pew has been a controversial character in Loony Tunes. He relentlessly pursues a black female cat, thinking she is a skunk. Blow says that this character “normalized rape culture” with its depiction that “no really didn’t mean no.” The skunk does come across as a leech.
In 2019, Malcolm D. Lee replaced Terrence Nance as director. Lee made the decision to cancel Pepe Le
Pew from the film, as per a report in Deadline. Nance had included the character but had filmed it in such a way that the skunk learns a lesson by being slapped and having a drink poured over his head in homage to Casablanca.
The news that Pepe Le Pew has been benched has been shared recently as many other studios and publishers have removed content or added warnings on certain shows or stopped publishing certain books. Disney has put warnings on a few episode of the Muppet Show and Dr. Seuss Enterprises have stopped publishing six books.
These decisions have angered conservatives who have criticized these decisions. They say that the “cancel culture” has gotten out of hand. However others like Blow have praised the decisions.
Space Jam: A New Legacy will be released on July 16 in theaters and on HBO Max, with LeBron James but without Pepe Le Pew. This decision has received mixed reactions on social media. Some have defended the character and called him a romantic while others are happy that he is relegated to history books.
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