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Pepé Le Pew is not featured in any current Warner Bros. TV projects and there are no current plans for the controversial cartoon skunk to return, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
The news comes one day after it was reported that Pepé Le Pew was scrubbed from the upcoming Space Jam 2. And while all that news falls days after a New York Times opinion piece in which the character was said to have “normalized rape culture,” the decision to both scrub him from the film and not have him return for TV projects was made more than a year ago. The Times’ piece ran in wake of Dr. Seuss Enterprises announcing it would stop publishing six books because of racist and insensitive imagery.
Pepé Le Pew was first introduced in 1945. A French skunk, the cartoon character was often on the quest for love, but his unwanted advances — usually toward a black cat that accidentally got a white-painted stripe — were often forceful. Pepé Le Pew was originally voiced by the late, legendary Looney Tunes actor Mel Blanc.
As for the Dr. Seuss development, opinions have been polarized.
On Sunday night, John Oliver lambasted conservative media over their reactions to the company’s decision, which stated, “These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong. Ceasing sales of these books is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ catalog represents and supports all communities and families.”
Oliver honed his rebuttal mostly on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson and Glenn Beck, who said the move to stop publishing the books was “fascism” amid cancel culture.
“A company deciding which of its own books it will or won’t print is an example of free enterprise, not fascism,” Oliver said, before showing some of the racist images from the books that are going out of print. The images were so offensive, Oliver noted, none were shown on Fox News as Carlson cried foul.
On the other side of the debate, LeVar Burton applauded the decision. The Reading Rainbow host said the moment was not about “cancel culture,” but one of growth.
“In the general sense, once you know better, it is incumbent on you to do better. And I think that is exactly what Seuss Enterprises is doing here,” Burton said. “They are being a responsible steward of the brand.”
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