That’s all folks!
By Ricky Browne
Bugs and Daffy need not worry. It’s neither rabbit nor duck season. Its skunk season. And possibly rodent season.
But Pepe le Pew’s days are numbered.
Pepe was to have a bit part in the new Space Jam movie, but no longer. In fact, he might not appear in any new cartoons anymore at all. And even his old cartoons may struggle to get air play.
Pepe le Pew as any fan of Warner Bros Looney Tunes will know, is a French skunk with an eye for almost anything that moves – even if it belongs to another species. Pepe is most attracted to Penelope Pussycat who bears a certain resemblance to him, as the cat too is black with white markings. The cat is repulsed by Pepe who frantically tries to get away from the skunk’s clutches, but that has no effect on Pepe and his attempts to start up a relationship.
The Pepe le Pew cartoons, while not as popular as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck or the Road Runner, used to get a laugh from children in his heyday of the 1970s.
But fast forward to the 21st century in the days of #MeToo, it turns out there is actually nothing endearing about a skunk trying to thrust himself onto an unwilling pussy – whether or not the skunk has a funny French accent.
The fact that the cat cannot speak French or indeed any language at all emphasises the victimhood of the poor feline.
Pepe, quite frankly, is a borderline rapist, who in this day and age would be lucky to not be thrown into jail to share a bunk with Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein or the corpse of Jeffrey Epstein.
Maybe, if he’s lucky, he could share a cell with Ghislaine Maxwell. If language is a consideration, then perhaps he could share time with the former Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
But what Pepe can’t do is make a cameo in an upcoming Looney Tunes movie – Space Jam: A New Legacy. He will, in fact, be whitewashed from the movie and is likely to be no longer have any new cartoons at all.
In the original 1996 movie with Michael Jordan, Pepe did play a small part along with other Looney Tune characters.
In this sequel with LeBron James, Pepe was to get his comeuppance when he attempted to kiss Greice Santo who wanted none of it. Her character pours her drink on him and gives him a good slap. But that scene is now cut, along with the one where James attempts to explain the concept of consent to Pepe, who admits that Penelope Pussycat had filed for a restraining order against him.
But its not just him that’s looking at the cutting room floor.
Speedy Gonzales, the Mexican mouse who can run circles around any gato, is likely to get the boot as well. This is a little less obvious – because no one has a problem with Speedy himself, except for his sombrero and his thick Mexican accent.
The bigger problem is the company he keeps. His Mexican mouse cousins, including Slow Poke Gonzales are negative stereotypes of real live Mexicans, we are told, so therefore Speedy must also get the chop.
Comedian Gabriel Iglesia – known as Fluffy — who has Mexican roots, is to be Speedy’s voice in the Space Jam movie, and he has come out in defence of the Mexican mouse.
“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”, the actor tweeted recently, getting more than 20,000 likes.
Is the Grandmother in Tweety and Sylvester a stereotype of an old lady that should now be banned? What about poor Porky Pig and his annoying stutter? Isn’t that cruel towards people like US President Joe Biden who had to overcome a stutter before he could get anywhere in politics?
What about the Taz, the destructive Tasmanian devil. Is that a good portrayal of people who are suffering from ADD?
And how about Elmer Fudd? Should he be allowed to blow the heads of off innocent talking animals merely for sport? Already there are reports that his rifle has been banned from new cartoons.
How about the Road Runner? Speeding is dangerous and should not be glamorised.
Yes, the days of distasteful cartoon characters who can trace their origins back to the 1940s, look numbered. Dora the Explorer should be safe for now. But Sponge Bob and his crew better look out.
As Porky Pig would say… “tha tha tha that’s all folks!”