Pepé Le Pew Would Have Learned About Consent in Axed 'Space Jam' Sequel Scene
Penelope Pussycat gets a restraining order against the aggressively romantic skunk in a cut storyline
Published Mar 08, 2021Even before the recent controversy surrounding New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow's claim that Looney Tunes character Pepé Le Pew promotes rape culture, Warner Bros. had previously axed a scene featuring the cartoon skunk from the upcoming Space Jam sequel.
According to Deadline, an original draft of the film included a scene between Pepé and Jane the Virgin actress Greice Santo, where the skunk, playing a bartender, begins kissing Santo's arm before she pours her drink on him and slaps him. Deadline reports that Pepé also tells other characters that Penelope Pussycat has filed a restraining order against him and that later, LeBron James teaches Pepé about consent.
The live-action portion of the scene was reportedly shot in 2019, but the animation was never completed.
Despite the coincidental timing of Blow's op-ed, the scene was actually cut well over a year ago and has nothing to do with the recent controversy, according to filmmakers.
Santo's spokesperson has said that the actress is disappointed with the decision to cut the scene. The actress, a victim of sexual harassment, runs a non-profit called Glam with Greice, which aims to help victims of domestic abuse.
"This was such a big deal for Greice to be in this movie," the spokesperson told Deadline. "Even though Pepe is a cartoon character, if anyone was going to slap a sexual harasser like him, Greice wished it would be her."
They added: "Now the scene is cut, and she doesn't have that power to influence the world through younger generations who'll be watching Space Jam 2, to let younger girls and younger boys know that Pepe's behavior is unacceptable."
Space Jam: A New Legacy is scheduled to arrive in theatres and on HBO Max on July 16. Check out some of the first shots of LeBron James and the Looney Tunes gang here.