Pepe Le Pew, the controversial Looney Tunes character, is not coming back for any new projects from Warner Bros. Pictures. He is not going to be in “Space Jam 2,” and following on the heels of that is the news that he will not be in any upcoming animated installments either.
The reasoning is because Le Pew is one of the most problematic characters in the Looney Tunes universe. It’s harder to change his persona than to just take away his guns like they are doing with Elmer Fudd. Since the character’s mode of operation is generally non consent of hugging and kissing on a black cat who does not appreciate his advances, it’s kind of obvious how problematic he is.
This isn’t to say the character is NEVER coming back. But, he will not be back in the form that we’ve come to know in the past. It was said in a New York Times opinion piece the character was said to have “normalized rape culture.”
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.Charles M. Blow in his article “Six Seuss Books Bore a Bias“
It would appear that others also share this same sentiment when it comes to the character as well.
What could they do to retcon him?
They could always use the character and use him as an example of how you are supposed to treat other people. Maybe have him respond to no the first time. Articulate that he knows what he did was wrong and show how he’s changed going forward.
He’s kind of been toned down in “The Looney Tunes Show” (which is great if you haven’t seen it) but he’s still kind of creepy.
If you want to watch old episodes of “Pepe Le Pew,” they are all available on Amazon with a Boomerang subscription.