Don't plan on seeing Pepe Le Pew again, unless you're watching old Looney Tunes media. The amorous, French-accented cartoon skunk won't be in Space Jam: A New Legacy, the sequel to 1996's Space Jam that will be released July 16. (Another change in the sequel, per Slate: Lola Bunny has been "thoroughly desexualized.") A scene involving Pepe and Jane the Virgin actress Greice Santo was shot, but ultimately left on the cutting room floor, Deadline reports. Critics, including New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow, have recently accused the lovelorn skunk of contributing to rape culture. "Let's see," Blow tweeted Sunday. "1. He grabs/kisses a girl/stranger, repeatedly, w/o consent and against her will. 2. She struggles mightily to get away from him, but he won’t release her 3. He locks a door to prevent her from escaping."
"All the comments saying 'it was another time', it was a 'cartoon', etc. just don’t get it," reads one sample response to that tweet. "It added to, and normalized a systematic culture of rape and disrespect for women. If you don’t see that you are part of the problem." (There are just as many, however, on the other side.) The Hollywood Reporter notes that Pepe Le Pew has no planned involvement in any current or upcoming Warner Bros. projects, so he might be gone forever, but sources tell Deadline his removal from the Space Jam sequel had nothing to do with Blow's criticism. The scene that was cut, however, involved Santo slapping the skunk when he kisses her hand without consent and Pepe later revealing the object of his affection, Penelope Pussycat, had filed a restraining order against him—and Santo, an outspoken advocate against sexual harassment, is reportedly disappointed it won't be in the film. (Read more cancel culture stories.)