Of all the cartoon animals I could write about twice in the space of a week, I never thought it would be Pepé Le Pew. The obnoxious skunk with serious boundary issues has become part of the public consciousness after being dropped from Space Jam: A New Legacy, and as a result, fans have begun demanding Warner Bros. to #ReleaseThePepeCut because of course they have.
The scene in which the character appeared saw him in a bar hitting on a human woman played by Jane the Virgin’s Greice Santo using his usual tactics of forced kissing and excessively French declarations of physical passion. Santo responds by pouring her drink on him, slamming him onto a stool, and slapping him so hard that he spins around in circles.
Although the live-action aspects were shot, it was never fully animated to include Pepé, and now fans are insisting, with varying levels of sincerity, that the finished movie include the sequence.
— being epic ironically (@lobstercopper) March 8, 2021
— 𝐏𝐇𝐈𝐋 (@PhilFrobisher) March 9, 2021
— Lil’ Chilly Boy 🥶 (@Mick_Marley) March 8, 2021
— Edwin Ayala (@OnTheRocks302) March 13, 2021
I refuse to watch Space Jam 2 until they release the cut where LeBron and Kobe teach Pepe LePew about consent. #ReleaseTheSkunkCut
— Do You BEALieve? (@DocHaus) March 15, 2021
— illy bocean (@IllyBocean) March 8, 2021
Changing directors halfway through filming will do this kinda thing #ReleaseThePepeCut
— Tom Skidmore (@Paper_Alchemist) March 9, 2021
— Space Jam News (@LegacyJam) March 8, 2021
— Phillip 🚩 🏴 (@2klightyrsaway) March 8, 2021
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Contrary to what many think, the scene wasn’t removed in response to the discourse surrounding New York Times columnist Charles M. Bow stating that the character contributes to rape culture, but was rather a creative decision made some time ago after a change in directors. Nevertheless, the intent was to directly address Pepé’s unacceptable behavior, thanks to LeBron James explaining to him that he can’t touch others without their consent.
Because all adults are basically giant children, one way to make them want something more than anything is telling them they can’t have it. Two weeks ago nobody was bothered about whether or not Space Jam: A New Legacy featured Pepé Le Pew, but now it (and whether a rabbit should have boobs) is all they seem to care about.