Pepe Le Gambá should not be in Space Jam 2: A New Legacy, a long-awaited sequel to the Looney Tunes universe. The character would have been removed from the Warner Bros. feature. after the repercussion of an article in The New York Times, in which a journalist points out that the known attitudes of harassment of the animal to several female figures in the drawings are able to “normalize the culture of rape”.
In addition, his appearance context would be related to another controversy, in a hybrid animation scene with live action – filmed in 2019 by Terence Nance, former director of the film. In this case, Pepe Le Gambá would be opposite the Brazilian actress Greice Santo (Jane the Virgin).
According to an anonymous Deadline source, Pepe Le Gambá would have been excluded from the script more than a year ago and in test shows three months ago, the character would not have appeared. That’s because after Malcolm D. Lee took over the direction, the recorded scene was abandoned in editing.
He would appear in a black-and-white scene as a waiter in a bar and restaurant based on the film Casablanca. When he saw a woman in the place, played by Santo, he would go to her and kiss her arm, against her will. She would then throw Pepe Le Gambá on a chair and pour a drink on him, in addition to giving a strong slap capable of turning the seat, until he was stopped by LeBron James.
The basketball star would be at the establishment, next to Bugs Bunny, to look for Lola Bunny. Pepe Le Gambá would have information about his whereabouts to pass on to the pair and would also reveal that Penelope has filed a restraining order against him. It is worth remembering that the dynamics between the skunk and the cat have already been the target of much criticism, due to the constant pursuit of Pepe and the flight of Penelope.
After the news was released, the actress revealed discontent in having her scene removed from the feature. “It was a great opportunity for Greice to be in the film. Even though Pepe is a cartoon character, if someone were to slap a stalker like him, Greice would like it to be her. Now the scene is cut, and it doesn’t have the power to show younger generations that this behavior is unacceptable, ”said a statement from the actress’s representatives to the vehicle.
So far, Warner Bros. did not comment on the matter. The release of Space Jam 2: A New Legacy is scheduled for July 16, in theaters and on HBO Max.