Fox segment backfires as guest agrees Looney Tunes character should be ‘cancelled’

Conrad Duncan@theconradduncan
Wednesday 10 March 2021 15:03
Showbiz

A Fox host’s attempt at stirring up controversy over the Looney Tunes character Pepe Le Pew has backfired after their guest agreed that the cartoon should be retired due to its inappropriate content.

The cartoon skunk became the latest subject of right-wing media’s obsession with “cancel culture” this week after it was reported that he would not be appearing in the upcoming Space Jam reboot.

That news followed an article in the New York Times which suggested that the character, who obsessively pursued a female cat in the show without her consent, “added to rape culture”.

The writer of the piece explained the case against Le Pew in a tweet over the weekend:

Earlier this week, Fox Business anchor Maria Bartiromo bizarrely decided that the issue was worthy of discussion and asked the Wall Street Journal’s Jon Hilsenrath for his reaction to the news.

However, Hilsenrath’s measured response was not the one she seemed to be looking for...

“Maria, I’m watching those videos that you have of this - I always used to think that cartoon was funny - but he is kind of grabbing and groping in ways that are just totally unacceptable today,” the writer said.

“I kind of think norms change over time. And maybe it’s time for Pepe Le Pew to beat it.”

Bartiromo then tried again to get a reaction out of him, asking if there was a risk of “going overboard” by getting rid of the character…

“Yeah. I mean, I think we can go overboard. But watch that video! He’s grabbing that poor little cat in ways that you could never get away with right now,” Hilsenrath added.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump Jr posted a three-minute-long video on Monday talking about the so-called “controversy” for his supporters.

The right-wing commentator has been talking almost every day this month about alleged “cancel culture” scandals in a series of videos that resemble Iceland own-brand versions of his father’s famous rally speeches…

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Trump Jr is right though to point out that noticing that Pepe is a bit creepy is nothing new, as comedian Dave Chapelle referred to the cartoon character as a “rapist” more than 20 years ago.

The decision to not include him in the upcoming Space Jam film also does not appear to be a new development.

According to Deadline, the call was made over a year ago and there are no plans to include the skunk in new episodes of Looney Tunes and other related projects.

That may be because Warner Bros don’t have any good ideas for how to use the character or it may be because a character like Pepe could understandably make some viewers feel uncomfortable following the MeToo movement.

Deadline reported on Sunday that a scene with the character was filmed for Space Jam: A New Legacy in which Pepe apparently gets rebuked for hitting on a woman at a bar, played by actress Greice Santo.

It is unclear why exactly the scene was cut from the final film but the decision is not thought to be linked to the recent commentary about the character.

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