The world’s most famous cartoon skunk appears to be the latest victim of cancel culture.
The Hollywood Reporter reported on Monday that Looney Tunes icon Pepé Le Pew is “not featured in any current Warner Bros. TV projects and there are no current plans” for the character’s return.
THR also reported that Le Pew will also not be appearing in the upcoming LeBron James film “Space Jam 2,” the sequel to the 90s Looney Tunes movie starring Michael Jordan. Le Pew appeared alongside the Chicago Bulls legend in the first film.
According to the report, the decision to snub the famous skunk was made “more than a year ago.”
Deadline also reported that a scene featuring Le Pew and actress Greice Santo was shot back in June 2019 but was “left on the cutting room floor.”
Last week, amid the uproar over the cancelation of six Dr. Seuss books for racist imagery, New York Times columnist Charles Blow took aim at Le Pew, who he said “normalized rape culture,” as well as fellow Looney Tune Speedy Gonzales, “whose friends helped popularize the corrosive stereotype of the drunk and lethargic Mexicans.”
Blow doubled down on his attack towards the beloved skunk on Twitter.
“RW blogs are mad bc I said Pepe Le Pew added to rape culture. Let’s see. 1. He grabs/kisses a girl/stranger, repeatedly, w/o consent and against her will. 2. She struggles mightily to get away from him, but he won’t release her 3. He locks a door to prevent her from escaping,” Blow wrote on Saturday while sharing a Pepé Le Pew montage.
He continued, “This helped teach boys that ‘no’ didn’t really mean no, that it was a part of ‘the game’, the starting line of a power struggle. It taught overcoming a woman’s strenuous, even physical objections, was normal, adorable, funny. They didn’t even give the woman the ability to SPEAK.”
Critics slammed Blow’s assessment of Le Pew.
“Unbelievable how malevolent & uncharitable this interpretation is. Of course Pepé the Pew is disgusting, it’s the whole point of this character & this cartoon!” artist Tim Soret exclaimed. “First, the Looney Tunes characters are obviously not designed as role models. They behave in the most insane, stupid, obsessive & reprehensible manner. Their flawed nature is why it’s morally acceptable and so regressively funny to see them fail miserably over & over. Pepé the pew is a skunk: he literally stinks. They couldn’t design a more obvious signal… His unawareness of his own smell *mirrors* his obliviousness of his own flippant attitude.”
Soret continued, “He’s too absorbed by his seduction act to even realize that he’s mistaking a cat for a skunk (paint would somehow always land on her back in absurd ways, which is the show’s running joke).”
“If Charles Blow didn’t spend his time obsessively looking for children’s cartoons to cancel, he wouldn’t have embarrassed himself like this. Just because he doesn’t understand the characters and their messaging, doesn’t mean kids have the same problem,” conservative writer A.G. Hamilton reacted.
“Pepe LePew was a rapey pervert & was bad, we understood this. Literally everyone who watched this cartoon got this Speedy Gonzales was not a rapey pervert, was funny, fast & the good guy The takeaway is Charles Blow who writes a NY TIMES column has never seen Looney Tunes,” conservative commentator Stephen Miller concluded.
Comedian Gabriel Iglesias, who voices Speedy Gonzales in “Space Jam 2,” defended his own cartoon character amid the renewed scrutiny.
“I am the voice of Speedy Gonzales in the new Space Jam. Does this mean they are gonna try to cancel Fluffy too? U can’t catch me cancel culture. I’m the fastest mouse in all of Mexico,” Iglesias tweeted on Saturday.