Warner Brothers revealed in March that Pepe Le Pew, the controversially horny Looney Tunes character, had been scrubbed from Space Jam: A New Legacy and would not be appearing in any future projects going forward. Pepe Le Pew was accused of"normalizing rape culture" in a New York Times op-ed by Charles M. Blow, so the production team thought it best to avoid controversy and cut the scene. "This helped teach boys that 'no' didn't really mean no, that it was a part of 'the game,' the starting line of a power struggle. It taught overcoming a woman's strenuous, even physical objections, was normal, adorable, funny. They didn't even give the woman the ability to SPEAK," Blow wrote on Twitter after his column was published.
The filmed scene featuring the character getting beat up by a woman who did not appreciate his ardent advances was cut. However, Greice Santo, the actress who filmed the scene, is upset that it's been cut and is offering a $100,000 "reward" to anyone who can provide her with the footage of her exchange with the toon.
In response, Warner Brothers released a letter to The Los Angeles Times explaining that "it is a crime for someone to solicit another to steal and distribute Warner Bros.’ property." Santo's team released a statement to The Times explaining that the request was to pay Warner Brothers for the footage. However, a source close to production revealed that there was no footage for sale.
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Santo previously addressed the controversial cut, expressing her disagreement. "For me, it was so important to have this scene in a movie to inspire the younger generations, and also the older generations, so we can correct that behavior," the Jane the Virgin actress explained. "I felt that this scene was a way to show kids that this kind of behavior is wrong."
Santo's rep previously spoke to Deadline, citing her frustration at the Casablanca homage getting cut. "This was such a big deal for Greice to be in this movie," the rep explained. "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."