This time last week, if you’d told someone that Space Jam: A New Legacy would have opened up a can of cancel culture worms over amorous skunk Pepé Le Pew glorifying rape culture and Lola Bunny not being sexy enough, you’d have gotten more than a few crazy looks.
And yet, that’s exactly what’s happened in this increasingly insane world that we live in, with Pepé’s dismissal creating an online firestorm as social media users debate the merits of cartoon characters being either redesigned or disregarded entirely to cater to modern tastes. The footage in question was initially cut from A New Legacy almost two years ago, but only in the last few days has it become a major issue.
There were further reports that Greice Santo, the human actor forced to take matters into her own hands and give Pepé a taste of his own medicine after rejecting his advances, wasn’t happy about the scene being dropped, and the latest wild twist in the tale for the bizarrely controversial Space Jam sequel is that Santo has now offered a $100,000 reward for the cut footage, which is technically a crime that would incur the full wrath of the Warner Bros. legal department. Responding to the story, the studio said: “It is a crime for someone to solicit another to steal and distribute Warner Bros.’ property.”
The Pepé scene wasn’t even animated when it was first abandoned, so unless we’re talking about a Justice League scenario where someone goes back and completes the unfinished footage by adding the skunk in next to Santo’s character, then it’s not going to happen. Then again, based on how the internet operates, there’s every chance that #ReleaseThePepéCut will find itself trending the closer we get to Space Jam: A New Legacy premiering on HBO Max and in theaters on July 16th.