Controversial cartoon skunk Pepe Le Pew became the subject of a New York Times op-ed recently, which said that he added to "rape culture." The author also mentioned another cartoon character, Speedy Gonzales, saying that his friends "helped popularize the corrosive stereotype of the drunk and lethargic Mexicans." Now, Gabriel Iglesias, the voice of Speedy Gonzales, directly addressed the controversy.
The popular comedian posted an animated Gif of the cartoon mouse and referred to himself by his nickname, Fluffy. Iglesias said that cancel culture can't catch him due to his speed. He was one of the many people responding to the op-ed and the "cancellation" of Le Pew with positive comments about Gonzales. Many said that Gonzales actually "outsmarted his foes" and was a popular figure in their households.
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 💨 pic.twitter.com/Ov4wjO00kM— G a b r i e l - I g l e s i a s (@fluffyguy) March 7, 2021
"Really? We're doing this? The Speedy Gonzales discourse? Let me be clear, Most, if not, a MAJORITY of us Hispanics and Latinos freaking LOVE Speedy. I grew up in a Mexican/Salvadoran household in which we ADORED him and still do. He ain't offensive. STOP IT!!!" tweeted a voice actor named Victor Melin.
The defense of Gonzales also included a column in the Los Angeles Times by Gustavo Arellano. He explained that there were some issues with the character, such as his oversized sombrero, but also explained why Gonzales is popular.
"I never saw a stereotype when I first saw his cartoons as a boy — I saw my culture at a time when the English-language media didn’t bother with us outside of crime and immigration," Arellano wrote. "He danced our dances and dressed like a jarocho (a native of Veracruz) and sounded like my country cousins, to be honest. He was the only Mexican in Hollywood I knew who never lost — well, him and Cheech and Chong."
While Gonzales will still be part of Space Jam 2 when it hits HBO Max and theaters in July, Le Pew will not. However, Deadline reports that his omission has nothing to do with the Times article. Malcolm D. Lee took over directing duties and Pepe Le Pew was eliminated from the sequel entirely and never ended up animated for a scene that was filmed.
The scene reportedly featured the skunk in a scene with Greice Santo (Jane the Virgin). In the scene, Le Pew reportedly tried to kiss Santo's arm, but she responded by pouring a drink on him and slapping him. Original director Terence Nance filmed the scene but departed the project in 2019. The scene was ultimately removed from Space Jam 2.