Space Jam: A New Legacy is slated to hit theaters on July 16. While many of the characters from the previous entry are going to drop by, the film is reportedly going to omit Pepe Le Pew, the stereotypical French skunk seeking affection from Penelope Pussycat who cannot get over his smell.
Over the recent weeks, the skunk character has gotten a lot of negative attention, with media brandishing him as a bad influence. In particular, New York Times put out an op-ed claiming he perpetuated stereotypes and worse – normalized rape culture.
This can be argued until the cows come home, considering other content like episodes where he managed to get rid of the smell and woo Penelope. Nevertheless, according to Deadline, this wasn’t even the case but the real reason isn’t quite made clear. Greice Santo, who played the role of the woman getting hit on, was upset to find the scene was cut, particularly because of her past and desire to hit even a fictional sexual harasser.
“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. 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.”
This isn’t the first time Loony Tunes would see this treatment. Back in June, HBO Max cut the cord on Elmer Fudd’s signature double-barrel shotgun in favor of a scythe to respond to growing gun violence.
Space Jam: A New Legacy is due to drop in theaters on July 16.