It wasn’t just The New York Times. A transition between different Space Jam 2 directors left the cartoon skunk on the cutting room floor.
Blow also took aim at Looney Tunes cartoon mouse Speedy Gonzales in his piece. Comedian Gabriel Iglesias made a public statement denouncing the phenomena as he proudly tweeted: “I am the voice of Speedy Gonzales in the new Space Jam. Does this mean they are gonna try to cancel Fluffy too? U can’t catch me cancel culture. I’m the fastest mouse in all of Mexico ?.”
Given that background it’s easy to assume the cancel culture hub-bub caused Pepe Le Pew’s demise. In fact Warner Bros. confirmed there’s no plans for the skunk’s inclusion in upcoming Looney Toons projects.
But a closer look at a recent Deadline story explains Pepe Le Pew had long since been left on Space Jam 2’s cutting room floor.
“Pepe was set to appear in a black-and-white Casablanca-like Rick’s Cafe sequence. Pepe, playing a bartender, starts hitting on a woman at the bar played by [Greice] Santo. He begins kissing her arm, which she pulls back, then slamming Pepe into the chair next to hers. She then pours her drink on Pepe, and slaps him hard, sending him spinning in a stool, which is then stopped by LeBron James’ hand. James and Bugs Bunny are looking for Lola, and Pepe knows her whereabouts. Pepe then tells the guys that Penelope cat has filed a restraining order against him. James makes a remark in the script that Pepe can’t grab other Tunes without their consent.”
The article notes director Terence Nance left the Space Jam 2 production, and Malcolm D. Lee took over. Deadline goes on to detail about how thrilled the actress was to have filmed the scene in the first place, and was reportedly devastated upon learning it was removed. In Greice Santo’s eyes she saw the Pepe Le Pew scene as a chance to let today’s young people understand that the skunk’s behavior is unacceptable.