In 1996, the world was introduced to a little film called Space Jam. The film consisted of NBA superstar Michael Jordan entering the Looney Tune world and facing an unexpected contest. Jordan must play basketball against a bunch of monsters or the rest of the Looney Tune characters will be prisoners. Michael included as well. In the end, our favorite cartoon characters win and Jordan returns to the real world. Soon regaining his status as an NBA all star and going forward.
Status and Sequel
After being released in the fall of 1996, Space Jam became a box office hit and a popular phenomenon. Sparking an instant classic with kids and teens around the world. A sort of sequel was released in 2003 called Looney Tunes back in Action. In fact it became so popular that it has gone forth with sequel being released in the summer of 2021. The sequel will consist now of NBA superstar Lebron James entering the Looney Tune world. Therefore carrying the torch of joining the Tune Squad. All of our favorite characters return for this fun sequel. Yet some of our favorite Looney Tunes will not be returning due to unfortunate circumstances. One character from the Looney Tune bunch that will be excluded from the sequel is Pepe Lew Pew. A character who was and still is lovable yet seen as a bad icon now these days.
Flirty Skunk Turned Banned Character
Before Barney Stinson and Schmidt from New Girl, we had the original flirt and hopeless romantic. Introduced in 1945 through Merrie Melodies/Looney Tunes, the French and flirty skunk became an instant classic and memorable character. Pepe Lew Pew was always on the quest for love and finding his soulmate. Yet the character faced rejection one incident after another due to his bad odor and aggressive attitude towards women. In some cases he got the girl but most of the time he faced a bunch of rejection and in other times he found himself running from the opposite attraction.
In recent years, some viewers saw the flirty skunk as aggressive and a poster for sexual harassment. Others still see him a flirty and hysterical skunk. With news of the Space Jam sequel revealing who will be in it and who won’t, people were shocked at decisions that were made in terms of a controversy.
It has now been revealed that Pepe Le Pew will be now be a thing of the past going forward. Warner Bros has made the decision to ban the beloved skunk from all Looney Tunes related projects in the foreseeable future. As the sequel is months away from being released to all platforms and theaters, tons of sources have expressed their feelings about the banning of a classic character. But before we get into that, we now have to know why Pepe is now banned forever more from Warner.
Recently a rough cut of the film was seen which included scene with Pepe and actress Grecie Santo. The scene involved the skunk playing a bartender hitting on a customer played by Santo. Pepe intends to flirt with her and does so by kissing her arm. Which Santo is appalled by and puts down his advances. Shen then plops him in a seat next to hers and slaps him hard after pouring her drink all over him. Not long after slapping him, he starts spinning rapidly into his seat which is stopped by Lebron.
After being asked by James and Bugs Bunny of Lola’s whereabouts, Pepe mentions that Penelope cat has a restraining order against him. This leads to James making a remark that Pepe can’t grab other Tunes without their consent. Upon hearing her scene was cut, Santo’s expressed anger and disappointment. She felt her scene was important to the topic of sexual harassment and wanted to let younger generations know the faults of Pepe’s behavior. While Santos has expressed dissapoinment of her scene being banned, other sources had their opinions as well.
Journalist Bryan Reesman for NBC News had expressed his opinion of the subject. While growing up Reesman had a love and passion for all the Looney Tune characters except for one. Though not understanding Pepe’s actions early on, he thought Pepe was way too aggressive and sick for a cartoon character. In fact Reesman took an immediate disliking to the flirtatious skunk thinking he was overly clingy with women.
Comedian Dave Chappelle admitted to a similar view of the character around the same time. He did a routine years ago showing how excited he was to show his nephew Pepe Le Pew cartoons. Chappalle always thought the skunk was hilarious and flirtatious. When rewatching some of Pepe’s cartoons in the present, he questioned out loud of what kind of rapist Pepe is.
As more people re-watch some his cartoons, they are now expressing a different view of the beloved character. What was once a funny and overly flirt of a skunk, is now the face of an inappropriate symbol. But what will become of Pepe’s cartoons?
Where to Watch
Sources have stated that Pepe Le Pew cartoons will continue to air on HBO MAX. Besides HBO MAX, you can still find his cartoons on the internet as well, specifically on YouTube. No matter what the future holds for this character, people will always have an opinion on him. Whether it’s a good opinion or bad opinion, Pepe will now be looked at in a whole new light.