Pepé Le Pew, a cartoon skunk who is part of the Looney Tunes stable of characters, has been reportedly pulled from “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” the upcoming animated live-action movie sequel starring NBA great LeBron James.
Although the change was revealed just days after New York Times columnist Charles Blow wrote that Le Pew “normalized rape culture,” it is unrelated. The Hollywood Reporter said the edit was made more than a year ago.
Deadline reported that the scene depicted Le Pew kissing the arm of actor Greice Santo, who tosses the skunk into a chair, pours a drink on him, then hits him so hard he spins on a stool until it’s stopped by James.
Santo, who said in 2018 that she had been a victim of sexual harassment, was reportedly disappointed by the edit.
“This was such a big deal for Greice to be in this movie,” a spokesperson told Deadline. “Even though Pepé is a cartoon character, if anyone was going to slap a sexual harasser like him, Greice wished it would be her.”
“Space Jam: A New Legacy,” the sequel to the 1997 film that starred hoops legend Michael Jordan, is set for release in July.