The amorous French skunk Pepe Le Pew won’t be making an appearance in the upcoming sequel to “Space Jam.”
The news comes shortly after a New York Times columnist claimed the animated skunk featured in Loony Tune cartoons “perpetuates rape culture,” according to Deadline.
“Deadline has learned that a hybrid live-action animation scene between Jane the Virgin actress Greice Santo and Pepe Le Pew, shot back in June 2019 for Space Jam 2 was left on the cutting room floor,” Deadline reported.
“The live-action scene was filmed by the pic’s first director, Terence Nance. As we first reported in July 2019, Nance left the production with Malcolm D. Lee taking over. Under the direction of Lee, Pepe Le Pew was eliminated from the sequel a while ago and never animated for the live-action footage which was shot. According to sources who saw a rough cut three months ago, they didn’t see any kind of cameo by the skunk,” Deadline wrote.
Blow wrote in his column that “Some of the first cartoons I can remember included Pepe 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.”
After criticism, the columnist wrote on Twitter that right-wing blogs “are mad bc I said Pepe Le Pew added to rape culture. Let’s see. 1. He grabs/kisses a girl/stranger, repeatedly, w/o consent and against her will. 2. She struggles mightily to get away from him, but he won’t release her. 3. He locks a door to prevent her from escaping.”
“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,” he wrote.