Pepe Le Pew has generated some serious controversy recently. A recent New York Times op-ed by Charles M. Blow seemed to ignite the discussion, separating fans into Pro-Pepe and Anti-Pepe camps. The character has even officially been kicked out of the Looney Tunes. Now, fans of the character have taken to Twitter to demand a “Pepe Cut” of Space Jam: A New Legacy.
If released, the Pepe Cut would simply include a scene shot in June 2019 that was cut by the Space Jam sequel’s new director, Malcolm D. Lee, because it some believe it promoted rape culture. In case you missed the news, here’s a quick primer: the scene involved Greice Santo slapping Pepe Le Pew after he gropes her at a bar. LeBron James steps him to teach him about consent, and the rest we will never know because Lee and the folks at Warner Bros. found this scene had the potential to be triggering for some viewers. As described, it does seem a little out of place in a kids’ movie.
Pepe Le Pew’s removal wasn’t the only thing the film’s new director changed when he stepped in for Terence Nance. Lola Bunny also went through a transformation for Space Jam: A New Legacy.
Some fans are now more interested in seeing Space Jam: A New Legacy than ever. Maybe not in a way that is healthy or encouraged, but still. Here is a tweet that illustrates what we are talking about beautifully:
As you can see, people are all kinds of riled up over news of Pepe Le Pew’s “cancelling.” But honestly, is he really going to be missed that much, or are fans spoiled now because they got their way with Zack Snyder’s Justice League?
It is great that Snyder and his fans are enjoying the director’s take on the film, but the precedent it sets is actually kind of scary. Zack Snyder had a legitimate reason for leaving the production of Justice League. His daughter died and he had to step away to grieve with his family. The fact that he came back to finish HIS film is amazing and should not ever be taken from him or undercut in any way. It is more just unnerving that so many of his fans feel entitled to something that was ultimately his to make.
Pepe Le Pew, on the other hand, is a handsy skunk with breathtaking boundary issues and a propensity for making people deeply uncomfortable.
Malcom D. Lee made the call when he axed Pepe Le Pew from the final cut of the film. It seems unlikely we’ll get the Pepe Cut. It would only teach fans that if they scream loud enough, studios will heed them.
You can catch the Pepe Le Pew-less Space Jam: A New Legacy when it hits theaters and HBO Max on July 16, 2021.