Disney Fires the Voice of Kermit the Frog

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Kari Kamiya

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Disney Says It Fired Kermit the Frog Actor Over "Unacceptable Business Conduct"
The Hollywood Reporter said:
Steve Whitmire, who had voiced Kermit the Frog for 27 years before being unceremoniously fired by Disney, says he was let go because he spoke up about changes being made to the character he felt were against what creator Jim Henson would've wanted. The Muppets Studio claims it was about how Whitmire conducted himself in the workplace.

In a Monday interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Whitmire explained that he was let go by Disney last October. He was given two reasons: Unwanted notes during the short-lived Muppets reboot on ABC and a union disagreement. News of his termination has since come to light after months of being told he was going to be "honored for his contributions" to the Muppets and the hope of working out issues with Disney brass.

"The first issue was that they felt I had been 'disrespectful' in being outspoken on character issues with the small group of top creative people during the ABC series," said Whitmire, who had been working with the Muppets since 1978. "I have been outspoken about what's best for the Muppets since the Muppets came to Disney [2004], but the fact is I have respect for everyone who was involved in the creation of that series for their own particular contributions. At the same time, I also have insight into their limitations with respect to how well they know the Muppets."

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Whitmire, who was asked to take over Kermit by Henson's family after the creator's untimely death in 1990, said that an instance of note was over a script for the new ABC series, canceled last year, in which Kermit lied to his nephew, Robin, about his breakup with Miss Piggy.

"I don't think Kermit would lie to him," Whitmire explained. "I think that is Robin came to Kermit he would say 'things happen, people go their separate ways, but that doesn't mean we don't care about you.' Kermit is too compassionate to lie to him to spare his feelings."

"The second issue was framed as 'refusing to work on a particular project' some 15 months earlier," Whitmire explained. "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 did in fact shoot the commercial, but was unable to shoot the material for the project in order to comply with my obligations to the guild. Ironically in that situation, my rep had negotiated a special deal with the guild so that we could do the work within the budget parameters for the project."

Whitmire says he is still baffled by the entire situation.

"I am still trying to make sense of how those two issues were egregious enough to justify ending a 39-year career without at least giving me an ultimatum at the time the issue occurred when I would have had a chance to correct my course," he said.

More information here.

Any Muppet spergs wanna throw in their two cents about this?
 

Jewelsmakerguy

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It's time for flinging bullshit!
It's time time to bribe them high!
It's time for internal drama on the Muppet Show tonight!


Been following this story for a few days now. This sucks a big one if you ask me. Steve was with the Muppets for almost 40 years, and over half of it as Kermit and some of Jim's other characters. It just feels like a backstab to end all backstabs. And with the Henson kids joining in, all I can say is fuck them.

And fuck Disney too. I wouldn't be surprised if they begin drumming up more drama and purging other actors in their other properties only to make more quick bucks.
 

Steamboat_Bill

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Disney's official reason for firing him is that he was apparently being a douche behind the scenes.

Frankly, nobody's coming off looking good in all of this, but... heck, at least they care enough about Kermit to recast him?

Between this and Disney closing down The Great Movie Ride...

They're really riding the douche canoe lately.

I haven't been to any of the Disney parks in years. My suspicions were right. You can't go home again.
 

Jewelsmakerguy

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Disney's official reason for firing him is that he was apparently being a douche behind the scenes.

Frankly, nobody's coming off looking good in all of this, but... heck, at least they care enough about Kermit to recast him?



I haven't been to any of the Disney parks in years. My suspicions were right. You can't go home again.
If that's the case, then why not fire all of their actors just based on their behind the scenes antics? I swear, Disney goes full :autism: when it comes to treating their actors.

As for recasting Kermit, I mean I guess they're smart enough to give it to a semi-vet like Matt Vogel, but he's already straddling the responsibilities of both Big Bird and most of Jerry Nelson's characters as it is. I'm pretty skeptical as to how he'll approach Kermit.
 

Blindrainbow

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Just more Disney mishandling the muppets, it took 7 years to do anything major with them (I don't count all the dvd movies and disney channel stuff as major as no one gives a fuck about them) and after the hype that movie made they sat on it and pump out an okay movie and tvshow tha failed to attracted any one. I hope they give another shot at the movies but that most likely won't be for very long time.
 

whatever I feel like

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I guess I'll stick up for Disney brass here. Henson's characters, when they first debuted, had a certain edge to them- they weren't child unfriendly but they weren't universally goody goodies either. Society has changed and properties have to keep updated. I don't mean making it a cash in or of a lower quality but the "can't do this, can't do that"ism that a lot of Disney long-timers have is holding back people's creativity. For all we know, Whitmire really might have been a stick in the mud on tons of stuff.
 

Slumber Crasher

the stockings were hung
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I guess I'll stick up for Disney brass here. Henson's characters, when they first debuted, had a certain edge to them- they weren't child unfriendly but they weren't universally goody goodies either. Society has changed and properties have to keep updated. I don't mean making it a cash in or of a lower quality but the "can't do this, can't do that"ism that a lot of Disney long-timers have is holding back people's creativity. For all we know, Whitmire really might have been a stick in the mud on tons of stuff.

After reading the other article provided later in the thread by @Steamboat_Bill, I can see it as a more grey area. Seems like Whitmire would do some really genuinely dickish things, like being totally opposed to having an understudy.
 

BadaBadaBoom

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If it was anyone but Disney I would have probably understood the decision. I'm sure Whitmire could be a douche, but at the same time I can see him having a commitment to the Muppets that probably prevented a lot of cringey shit Disney would have tried to pull over the years with the character had he not been so aggressively assertive about it. I don't think it's completely a matter of one egregious mistake on his part but more like "enough is enough" from the Disney execs who want to have more control over the character.
 

Minge

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After reading the other article provided later in the thread by @Steamboat_Bill, I can see it as a more grey area. Seems like Whitmire would do some really genuinely dickish things, like being totally opposed to having an understudy.
Uh, if I suspected my parent company wanted to fire me, I'd refuse an understudy as well. Training your own replacement... it's like putting down polyurethane sheets to make sure the mess from your own assassination doesn't inconvenience anyone.