After canceling Dr. Seuss, the classic cartoon character Pepé Le Pew’s head is next on the chopping block.
The Looney Tunes character was dropped from the live animation sequel Space Jam: A New Legacy, starring LeBron James.
In one scene, Pepe, the bartender, flirts with Greice Santo’s character by kissing her arm which she rejects with an open handed slap.
Pepe then tells James and Bugs Bunny that Penelope Pussycat filed a restraining order against him. James responds that the skunk can’t go around kissing other cartoon characters without their consent.
Deadline states Santo was “upset” over the removal of the scene, according to her spokesperson.
“This was such a big deal for Greice to be in this movie. Even though Pepe is a cartoon character, if anyone was going to slap a sexual harasser like him, Greice wished it would be her,” said the spokesperson. “Now the scene is cut, and she doesn’t have that power to influence the world through younger generations who’ll be watching Space Jam 2, to let younger girls and younger boys know that Pepe’s behavior is unacceptable,” the statement read.”
Deadline.com reports that the French skunk’s scenes were cut after director Malcolm D. Lee took over from the movie’s first director Terence Nance.
Lee desexualized curvaceous Looney Tunes cartoon character Lola Bunny whose curves dominated scenes in the original Space Jam starring the g.o.a.t Michael Jordan.
Charles Blow, a columnist for the New York Times, complained on Twitter that Pepe was too overly amorous in old cartoons. He said Pepe “normalized rape culture” and convinced boys that “no doesn’t mean no.”
Blow shared an old cartoon clip on Twitter of Pepe forcibly restraining and kissing Penelope.
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. pic.twitter.com/CbLCldLwvR
— Charles M. Blow (@CharlesMBlow) March 6, 2021