Pepé Le Pew will not be starring in the upcoming theatrical sequel “Space Jam: A New Legacy” set to be released July 16.
The animated French skunk, Pepé Le Pew, appeared in the first Warner Brothers “Space Jam” movie back in 1996 but according to Deadline and The Hollywood Reporter, a hybrid live-action animation scene between “Jane the Virgin” actress Greice Santo and Pepé Le Pew, shot back in June 2019 for “Space Jam 2” was left on the cutting room floor.
With the “Looney Tunes” skunk shrouded in controversy in the wake of New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow who claimed the cartoon character “added to rape culture.” The live-action scene was filmed by original director, Terence Nance. Under the direction of Malcolm D. Lee, Pepé Le Pew was eliminated from the sequel a while ago and never animated for the live-action footage which was shot.
According to Deadline, sources who saw a rough cut three months ago, they didn’t see a cameo by the skunk. Deadline also stated they understood that Pepe’s firing from “Space Jam: A New Legacy” had nothing to do with the recent remarks made by the New York Times’ Blow.
The scene that was cut from the movie was a black-and-white “Casablanca”-like Rick’s Cafe sequence. Pepé, playing a bartender, starts hitting on a woman at the bar played by Santo. He begins kissing her arm, which she pulls back, then slamming Pepé into the chair. She then pours her drink on Pepé, and slaps him hard, sending him spinning in a stool, which is then stopped by LeBron James’ hand. James and Bugs Bunny are looking for Lola, and Pepé knows her whereabouts. Pepé then tells the other Penelope cat has filed a restraining order against him. James makes a remark in the script that Pepé can’t grab other Tunes without their consent.
A spokesperson for Santo told Deadline, “This was such a big deal for Greice to be in this movie. Even though Pepé 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 behaviour is unacceptable.”
ET has reached out to Warner Bros. for comment.