The “#METOO” movement has men realizing what women have been complaining of amongst themselves for years. For Space Jam: A New Legacy, the long awaited sequel to Space Jam, Warner Brothers has decided to err on the side of caution. Deadline announced that amorous French skunk Pepe LePew will not be appearing in the sequel.
No Pepe LePew
A scene with human actress Greice Santo (Crystal in Harley Quinn, Blanca in Jane the Virgin) and Pepe Le Pew was filmed in 2019, but it has been cut from the film. It may show up on a DVD or Blu-ray “deleted scenes,” with a trigger warning, or it may stay on the cutting room floor.
Pepe LePew’s career with Warner Brothers may be over, and not just in Space Jam: A New Legacy, but in any Warner Brothers cartoon. “Warner Bros. also has no current TV series featuring the skunk and there are no plans to have him appear on Looney Toons, Bugs Bunny Builders, Tiny Toons Looniversary or future projects,”
Lola Bunny Desexualized
Lola Bunny is voiced by Kath Soucie, one of the most popular voices actresses in Hollywood today,. She did the honors for Princess Katherine in Disney’s Gargoyles, and was Kanga in The Tigger Movie, Piglet’s Big Movie, and other Winnie the Pooh animated adventures. and Tuffy Mouse in the last five Tom and Jerry movies.
Our distinguished colleagues at the MarySue.com reported that Lola Bunny will be drawn in a less sexualized way. Director Malcolm D. Lee explained, “Lola [Bunny] was very sexualized, like Betty Boop mixed with Jessica Rabbit … Lola was not politically correct…. This is a kids’ movie, why is she in a crop top? It just felt unnecessary, but at the same time there’s a long history of that in cartoons.”
Malcolm Lee said, “This is 2021. It’s important to reflect the authenticity of strong, capable female characters. She probably has the most human characteristics of the Tunes; she doesn’t have a thing like a carrot or a lisp or a stutter. So we reworked a lot of things, not only her look, like making sure she had an appropriate length on her shorts and was feminine without being objectified, but gave her a real voice. For us, it was, let’s ground her athletic prowess, her leadership skills, and make her as full a character as the others.”
When most modern live-action movies have trouble passing the Bechdel Test, it seems ironic a children’s cartoon will bend over backwards to present female characters judged by their abilities rather than their shape and cutting out skirtchasers who won’t take no for an answer … unless an Acme-brand anvil is dropped on their heads.
Maybe if I hadn’t grown up with cartoons that took such things for granted, I wouldn’t find such things surprising in modern cartoons. Maybe modern boys and girls will be stronger with better examples. Do you think Warner Brothers is making a fuss over nothing, or do you consider this a necessary step in the right direction?
Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as 26 short stories, mostly fantasy in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress #30”, Swords &Sorceries Vols. 1, 2, & 5, “Cat Tails” “Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions, Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.