Following the decision to remove Pepe Le Pew from Space Jam: A New Legacy, Warner Bros. announced that the cartoon skunk will not appear in any future projects.
The controversial skunk Pepe Le Pew will not appear in any Warner Bros. projects. This comes after the news that the only Pepe Le Pew scene in Space Jam: a new legacy was cut by director Malcolm D. Lee, who took over the project from previous director Terence Nance. First introduced to the Looney tunes In 1945, Pepe Le Pew is a French striped skunk incessantly seeking romance, although his intolerable smell and aggressive behavior constantly repel other characters.
The scene in question was reportedly a parody of the 1942 classic White House which features Pepe in the role of a bartender. The cartoon skunk begins by flirting with a woman played by Jane the virgin actress Greice Santo, but Pepe’s advances soon turn threatening, including kissing her on the arm without consent, leading to the woman slapping Le Pew. Later, Pepe admits that Penelope Pussycat has filed a restraining order against him, to which LeBron James reprimands him for touching other people without their consent. Santo publicly expressed his disappointment at the cutout of the scene, as he believed it had the power to teach young viewers that Pepe’s behavior is unacceptable.
Now after being cut from the Space jam sequel, Pepe Le Pew is reportedly not part of any current Warner Bros. projects and there are no plans for him to return in the future, according to THR. This includes the new Looney tunes series currently airing on HBO Max and any future feature films, effectively removing Pepe Le Pew from cartoon canon.
While the decision to separate Pepe Le Pew from Space Jam: a new legacy and removing the cartoon skunk from all future projects that was supposedly made over a year ago, the news broke days after an opinion piece by Charles M. Blow published in New York Times accused Pepe Le Pew of having “normalized rape culture. “In his column, Blow also pointed to another Looney tunes character, Speedy González, for having aged poorly.
Due to this sequence of events, many speculated that the decision was made in response to the NOW column. However, since Warner Bros. made the decision more than a year ago, the two events are not actually related. The rest of Looney tunes less Pepe Le Pew can be seen when Space Jam: a new legacy releases on HBO Max and in theaters July 16.
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