Fans of the original Space Jam movie are extremely to see the upcoming sequel Space Jam: A New Legacy. Everyone’s favorite Looney Tunes characters will be returning to the big screen with one exception Pepe Le Pew.
It was reported that a scene featuring Pepe Le Pew, the smelly French accented skunk of the Looney Tunes, was cut from the movie by director Malcolm D. Lee. Apparently the scene involving Pepe Le Pew would be about sexual consent.
Pepe Le Pew was created way back in 1945, and since his debut he has become a very controversial character. In his cartoons his costar Penelope Pussycat, a black cat, usually has a white stripe accidentally painted on her back. Pepe sees her, thinks she’s a skunk, and falls in love with her. Pepe then tries to woo Penelope, usually by kissing her against her will, unaware that Penelope is turned off by his stench.
Having a cartoon character with this gimmick does not fly these day, which is why Screen Rant reported that Warner Brothers has announced that they will not be utilizing Pepe Le Pew in any upcoming projects. The skunk will not be used in the new Looney Tunes series, and any upcoming Warner Brothers movies. Many people speculate that the character was retired in response to an opinion piece that appeared in the New York Times. The article says that Pepe Le Pew normalizes rape culture and his fellow Looney Tune Speedy Gonzalez is an example of a racist caricatures. However according to The Hollywood Reporter the article did not actually influence Warner Brothers decision, because plans to retire the character were made more than a year ago.
It is unknown if Pepe Le Pew will be permanently retired, but it looks like he won’t be making any new appearances in the near future. However it seems that his frequent victim Penelope Pussycat can still make future appearances. It is unknown if she will be appearing Space Jam: A New Legacy, but it is still possible for her.