Steve Whitmire, fired puppeteer behind Kermit the Frog, says he's 'devastated'
18 Juillet, 2017, 01:12 | Author: Lucrece Courtet
Steve Whitmire, the voice of Kermit the Frog for the last 27 years, was fired. After Disney picked up the rights to The Muppets franchise in 2004 - which resulted in two feature films from 2011 and 2014, as well as the The Muppet Show reboot on ABC from a year ago - Whitmire stayed on as Kermit, even though his influence was apparently not always welcome. I happened to get caught in the middle of a dispute on a contract classification between SAG-AFTRA and Disney Labor Relations which occurred while I was in-flight to work on the project and the associated commercial. I feel that I am at the top of my game, and I want all of you who love the Muppets to know that I would never consider abandoning Kermit or any of the others because to do so would be to forsake the assignment entrusted to me by Jim Henson, my friend and mentor, but even more, my hero.
Kermit was Henson's signature character, and the centerpiece of the Muppets franchise, from 1955 until 1990, and when he died, it was unthinkable for many to imagine someone else doing it. While some outlets immediately began the search for his replacement, Whitmire told THR in an interview today that he was sacked for being too outspoken. Henson was the original voice actor for the said character. At the same time, I also have insight into their limitations with respect to how well they know the Muppets.
"The role of Kermit the Frog is an iconic one that is beloved by fans and we take our responsibility to protect the integrity of that character very seriously", a spokesperson for The Muppets Studio said in a statement.
The Muppets Studio did not detail the nature of Whitmire's "repeated unacceptable business conduct", but said it spanned "a period of many years", adding that "he consistently failed to address" his employers' feedback.
In addition to Kermit, Whitmire voiced Rizzo the Rat, one-half of grumpy critics Statler and Waldorf, and other Muppets characters.
Whitmire claimed he is still baffled by the decision.
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