Pepe Le Pew has relentlessly pursued his last female cat for some time. The Looney Tunes character has been retired, and Warner Bros. no longer plans to include him in future television projects. He is also not going to appear in the upcoming Space Jam: A New Legacy. The fictional skunk was first introduced in 1945 and is famous for forcefully pursuing a cat, even though she never wanted anything to do with him. A recent New York Times op-ed argued that Pepe Le Pew helped "normalize" rape culture.
Last week, a source told The Hollywood Reporter that Pepe Le Pew will not be included in the Space Jam sequel starring LeBron James. The source said the character was "scrubbed" from the film over a year ago. On Monday, sources told The Hollywood Reporter that Peppe will also not be used in future Looney Tunes television projects. He was seen in the Cartoon Network series New Looney Tunes but was not featured in any of the new cartoons made for HBO Max.
Pepe Le Pew reportedly shared a scene with Greice Santo (Jane the Virgin) in Space Jam 2, reports Deadline. It was shot back in June 2019 but will not be included in the final cut of the film. The scene was shot by director Terence Nance, who left the film in July 2019 and was replaced by Malcolm D. Lee. The animation of Pepe was never completed. A source who saw a rough cut of Space Jam 2 three months ago told Deadline the scene was not there, so it had nothing to do with the recent New York Times op-ed.
Pepe's scene in Space Jam 2 reportedly involved him trying to kiss Santo's arm, but then pours a drink on him and slaps the character. Santo's representatives told Deadline she was disappointed that the scene was cut because she is a victim of sexual harassment and wanted to see the character get his comeuppance. "This was such a big deal for Greice to be in this movie," her rep said. "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."
Back on March 3, New York Times op-ed writer Charles M. Blow wrote about the impact racist and other controversial imagery in children's literature and cartoons left behind, in light of the controversy over six Dr. Seuss books being removed from publication. "Some of the first cartoons I can remember included Pepé Le Pew, who normalized rape culture; Speedy Gonzales, whose friends helped popularize the corrosive stereotype of the drunk and lethargic Mexicans; and Mammy Two Shoes, a heavyset Black maid who spoke in a heavy accent," Blow wrote, referencing two Looney Tunes characters and a character featured in early Tom & Jerry shorts. Blow's op-ed also started a debate about Speedy Gonzales, but Warner Bros. has not commented on the character's future.