10 Cartoon Characters We Predict Cancel Culture Firehose Will Douse Following Pepe Le Pew Axed From ‘Space Jam: A New Legacy’
The idea of an unflappable French skunk chasing after a petite feline was always offensive to the French, though even they mostly thought it was pretty funny back in 1945 (they dubbed their version with an Italian accent). But after a recent New York Times article accused Pepé Le Pew of “adding to rape culture” the Looney Tunes character was axed from the upcoming movie Space Jam: A New Legacy.
The scene in question involves Pepé falling in love with his co-star Greice Santo. When his unwanted affections go too far, Santo has to set him straight with a slap to the face. It’s a classic Pepé Le Pew trope that hasn’t aged well.
But not everyone is happy with Pepé getting canceled. After hearing of the deletion, Santo expressed her disappointment, saying:
“For me, it was so important to have this scene in a movie to inspire the younger generations, and also the older generations, so we can correct that behavior…I felt that this scene was a way to show kids that this kind of behavior is wrong.”
Her passion was so intense, a representative for Santo even offered a bounty of $100,000 for a copy of the scene, which prompted Warner Bros. to issue this statement:
“It is a crime for someone to solicit another to steal and distribute Warner Bros.’ property.”
Despite her willingness to break the law, Santos makes an interesting point. We agree that sometimes entertainment goes too far (like Birth of a Nation restarting the Ku Klux Klan in 1915) and needs to be handled like the hazardous material it is. But as cancel culture continues to swell, there’s a tendency to want to rewrite history by erasing the sins of the past (and create new sins where there are none).
This approach may lead to an overcorrection. Think about it, if we create a world void of any controversy, we may be dooming ourselves to repeat these same mistakes. Not everything can or should be viewed through the scope of today’s lens, for that in and of itself creates a narrow field of vision in which to perceive human history.
Not to mention, hitting Command+A+Delete on all bad behavior in art and culture will not prevent bad behavior in real life, just like plugging our ears when Creed comes on the radio doesn’t stop Scott Stapp from Eddie-Vedering all over the rug.
All half-baked philosophizing aside, as the firehose of cancel culture shows no signs of letting up anytime soon, let us turn our attention to ten cartoon characters we predict will one day be scrubbed from the proverbial Space Jams of tomorrow – and see how well Donald Duck’s lawyers fend off his jail time when the indictments are handed down.
Cover Photo: John Shearer (Getty Images)
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This dude is basically the '90s American version of Pepé Le Pew. He may be totally beefed-up and sport cool shades, but underneath it all he's just another oversexed skunk with a disdain for showering. If he doesn't Brock Turner his way out of this one, we predict he'll be the next cartoon character to get scrubbed from history.
Donald Duck won an Oscar for being a Nazi in a WWII propaganda film made by Disney. Yep, that's right. And while the whole stunt was really just a way to kickstart the American war effort, throwing on your Nazi garb with a serious pep in your step is never a good look.
If you didn't already know, Archer is the definition of toxic masculinity. But somehow, perhaps because of the voicing wizardry of H. Jon Benjamin and the fact that everyone knows he's a prick, he manages to be hilarious. But one person's treasure is another person's trash, and when the cancel-hose comes to clean house, Archer may just end up on the barge to garbage island.
Bugs Bunny has been in hot water before from all the racist and sexist things he's done throughout his career. But now that cancel culture has latched onto the Looney Tunes, it's only a matter of time before the buck stops with Bugs. Will this wascally wabbit go down without a fight?
Falling in love with the man who kidnaps you and holds you hostage doesn't exactly send the most positive message about relationships. If anything, this is way worse than what Pepé Le Pew did. But if the popularity of Netflix's 365 Days is any indication, it might be a while before this raises any red flags.
Warner Bros. cartoons have stirred up more than their fair share of controversy over the years (like the Censored Eleven) but Foghorn Leghorn, despite being an antebellum Southern Gentleman will not be going down from any hint of bigotry. Au contraire, this headstrong rooster's hatred of dogs is what will surely raise the ire of animal advocacy groups and bring his chickens home to roost.
Eric Cartman has said some things that would make our grandma shudder. The kid was born to be canceled, so it's a foregone conclusion that one day his mouth will get him into trouble - probably when the Generation After Z comes along and has no clue about the time and place he was created.
Looney Tunes recently took away Elmer Fudd's rifle, replacing it with a scythe. So now when he's not attacking Bugs Bunny with dynamite, a hatchet, or other deadly object not involved in mass shootings, he'll be wielding the weapon of choice for Death itself. Is it a foreshadowing of Elmer's own impending death at the hands of cancel culture?
Nope, it's not his overtly binary name or his questionable chest plate symbol that will get He-Man scrubbed from the annals of cartoon history. It's the gratuitous over-commercialization of kid's programming that will do him in. And though we'll dearly miss the power of Greyskull and the dopey antics of his nemesis Skeletor, we're going to have to agree on this one.
This energetic mouse from Mexico was actually pre-canceled back in 1999 when Cartoon Network pulled his cartoons off the air (for inklings it might be culturally offensive). Obviously, the decision didn't stick, and Speedy (as voiced by Gabriel Iglesias) remains in Space Jam: A New Legacy. What the legacy of cancel culture will be is anyone's guess.
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