The character Pepe Le Pew will not return in future TV projects, confirms Warner Bros.
A few days ago, The New York Times wrote a piece about the recent Dr. Seuss Enterprises decision to no longer sell six books by the author featuring racist and insensitive imagery. The author also noted some cartoons of old that are perhaps best left behind as well, in particular the Looney Tunes’ skunk Pepe Le Pew.
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Author Charles M. Blow wrote that the character “normalized rape culture” in his many forms, and Warner Bros. agreed that he would no longer be appropriate. It wasn’t long before the company announced he wouldn’t be appearing in the highly anticipated Space Jam: A New Legacy. They also confirmed that the character won’t return in any future TV projects.
BYE BYE, PEPE LE PEW
The Hollywood Reporter stated: “the decision to both scrub him from the film and not have him return for TV projects was made more than a year ago.”
Deadline reported that there at one point were plans to include him in the anticipated Space Jam Sequel. The trade reported: “a hybrid live-action animation scene” featuring Actress Greice Santo was shot with Santo appearing alongside Pepe Le Pew. The sequence was shot in June of 2019 when the film’s first director Terence Nance was helming the project. After Nance departed the project and Malcolm D. Lee took over, the scene was removed and the character eliminated from the film entirely. They reported “according to sources who saw a rough cut three months ago, they didn’t see any kind of cameo by the skunk” and that his removal had nothing to do with the recent NYT piece.
Pepe Le Pew was a skunk with a French accent who frequently attempted to kiss and aggressively pursue a black cat, who frequently appeared skunk like through comical means. The most recent appearance by the character was as a cameo in “Happy Birthday Bugs Bunny!,” an episode of the HBO Max original series, the Looney Tunes Cartoons.
Space Jam: A New Legacy will hit theatres and HBO Max on the same day, July 16, 2021.
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