It’s no secret that Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog have an antagonistic relationship. But abusive? Some Twitter users are advocating for the so-called “cancellation” of Miss Piggy in the wake of re-examining many childhood faves. It’s tough to discern the exact tone of the Miss Piggy posts, which fall under the recent #CancelACartoonCharacter. This hashtag was created — and went viral — following a firestorm of controversy over the creepy habits of Pepé Le Pew.
Cancel Culture and Cartoons
On March 3, the Looney Tunes French skunk Pepé Le Pew was officially called out called out for perpetuating rape culture by New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow. In an op-ed defending the choice by Dr. Seuss Enterprises to cease publication on six offensive Dr. Seuss books, Blow wrote:
“Some of the first cartoons I can remember included Pepé Le Pew, who normalized rape culture; Speedy Gonzales, whose friends helped popularize the corrosive stereotype of the drunk and lethargic Mexicans; and Mammy Two Shoes, a heavyset Black maid who spoke in a heavy accent.”
Blow followed his column up with a tweet that detailed the skunk’s forceful grabbiness. (See above.) Following the online controversy, Warner Bros. announced that Pepé Le Pew will not appear in the upcoming Space Jam sequel, Space Jam: A New Legacy. The same week, Warner Bros. revealed a redesign of the Space Jam 2 character Lola Bunny. Once noted for her curvaceous figure, the bunny’s new look — flat-chested, in baggier clothes, was meant to seem more kid-friendly. Instantly, online trolls decried the aesthetic tweak as another symptom of “cancel culture.”
Cancel Miss Piggy?!
Late last month — before contention over Pepé Le Pew — Disney Plus added disclaimers on certain episodes of The Muppet Show, warning of “negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures” present in the TV show. Though the disclaimers were added to contextualize content that was racially insensitive, the Muppets are now under the microscope again. This time, for Miss Piggy’s history of predatory behavior. Allegedly.
Sexual harassment might not be what comes to mind when you envision the bombastic Miss Piggy and her relationship to Kermit the Frog. But the #CancelACartoonCharacter has awoken critics who call for the canceling of Miss Piggy altogether. “When are we canceling Miss Piggy for nomalising rape culture?” one tweet by @Suffragentleman read, accompanied by a frenzied GIF of Miss Piggy smothering her frog-boyfriend with affection. (See below.) Another said, by @000Kage000, said: “Can’t wait to see Miss Piggy cancelled for physical and emotional abuse toward Kermit. She’s been karate chopping him since the 70’s, poor little bastard.”
For argument’s sake, let’s consider which of Miss Piggy’s behavior, exactly, could be considered problematic. There’s the constant karate chopping, and of course, showering her reticent beau in — occasionally unwanted — kisses. She’s also demanding AF. But those are the same traits that make superstar Miss Piggy something of a feminist icon. As you can imagine, there were just as many tweets speaking out in defense of the fabulous, outspoken puppet who easily outshines the rest of the Jim Henson gang (in my opinion).
As the hashtag continues trending on social media, take a look at some of the funniest posts. Again, these are not all serious cancellation attempts. Although some tweets raise some interesting points…
And my personal favorite: