Earlier this year, Warner Bros. removed Pepé Le Pew from all future Looney Tunes projects to keep a lid on the controversy that erupted around the character after he was blasted for “normalizing rape culture” in a viral New York Times article. Sure enough, the first trailer for Space Jam: A New Legacy didn’t feature the amorous French skunk, but it did contain some other surprise cameos. And the internet is ripping the studio to shreds over it.
You see, Space Jam 2 is set to be populated by various characters from Warner Bros.’ back catalogue. We get a glimpse at the crowd watching LeBron James’ basketball game with Bugs Bunny and company in the trailer and standing at the edge of the court are the Droogs from Stanley Kubrick’s dark dystopian classic A Clockwork Orange. In case you’re not familiar with the film, the Droogs are self-styled ultra-violent street thugs, so they’re not really compatible with something that’s meant to be fun for all the family.
The fact that the Droogs are in Space Jam 2 but Pepé isn’t is causing folks to blast the studio for being hypocritical, though some are seeing the funny side of the situation.
It’s really funny that Warner Bros just wanted to throw in a bunch of cinematic properties in the new Space Jam, like who thought it was a good idea to put Game of Thrones and Clockwork Orange characters in a cartoon movie about basketball
— Chaotic Reply Guy (@willyhaddock) April 4, 2021
It's admittedly funny that Pepé isn't in Space Jam yet the Clockwork Orange people are, but the difference is that they're the bad guys in A Clockwork Orange and Pepé was not the bad guy in fuckin Looney Tunes.
Also they're probably in the background for like 10 seconds.
— 25 Days until Creed Humphrey Szn (@NathanWhatever1) April 4, 2021
The upcoming Space Jam being set in a world populated by every single Warner Bros brand, resulting in the Clockwork Orange gang watching the Looney Tunes play ball while Pepe Le Pew was removed from the movie for being a sexual deviant is the funniest cinematic nonense right now. pic.twitter.com/5tZejRGeGt
— ❥ Matt Jerkhole 🪳 (@Sleepless_Matt) April 3, 2021
I think it's incredibly funny how they didn't put Pepe Le Pew in the new space jam movie because he does a little too much sexual harassment but then put in a cameo from the clockwork orange guys who are like straight up r*pists
— 𝐃𝐈𝐍𝐍𝐄𝐑 𝐁𝐋𝐀𝐒𝐓𝐄𝐑 (@2CAPTCHAPREDATR) April 4, 2021
I love both the original space jam and A clockwork orange movie but I’m surprised yet find it funny that the droogs are in a visible shot in the new space jam legacy movie let alone the trailer haha! #SpaceJamANewLegacy #aclockworkorange pic.twitter.com/ZbEg6V8hLc
— Estevan Espinoza (@Stevie_E96) April 4, 2021
Conversely, others are seriously insulted by the move.
Warner Bros. won’t #RestoreTheSnyderVerse, but will put 4 literal rapists in the new “Space Jam” movie? These men rape and beat people for fun in Stanley Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange” (1971).
But Pepe La Pew can’t be in the new movie.
— P A I N (@Redacted1776) April 4, 2021
— WOLFSCREAM_GORGONSON (@DestruktorT) April 4, 2021
Here’s a window into how the conversations went at WarnerMedia Towers.
Warner bros : let’s take out Pepe le pew for future projects including space jam , he’s a lil yeaaahhhh
Also Warner bros : you know what we need for space jam … clockwork orange and pennywise cameos
— Squizztits (@Evilsquirrel123) April 4, 2021
We need to cut the cartoon skunk from SPACE JAM because his behavior is problematic.
Make sure you save FRONT ROW seats to the big game for the guys from A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. The kids are gonna love it! pic.twitter.com/ZDUh7J7pSz
— James Shotwell (@JamesShotwell_) April 4, 2021
“Art is now officially dead.”
Warner Bros put "A Clockwork Orange" in the same canonical universe as "Space Jam" and art is now officially dead.
— Faith (@RoseOfWindsong) April 3, 2021
Warner Bros. is not coming out of this in a good light.
So Warner Bros. greenlit Space Jam 2, which will have pointless Game of Thrones and Clockwork Orange cameos, but cancelled Ava DuVernay's New Gods movie and went to court against George Miller, almost denying him another Mad Max movie? pic.twitter.com/UyHJZEoZri
— Chris from Christophsis (@DaftWreckpunk) April 3, 2021
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Like the tweeter above reminds us, there are also some Game of Thrones crossovers teased in the trailer and once we see the full flick, we’re bound to spot many other figures from R-rated properties, too. That is, unless the studio decides to edit out these offending characters before the movie releases in response to all this controversy. But at this point, it looks like Warner Bros. is just going to keep finding ways to annoy their fans whatever they do.
To be fair, there is still a lot of positive buzz for Space Jam: A New Legacy as well and we’ll see how things turn out when it hits theaters and HBO Max this July 16th.