‘Space Jam’ cancelation sends us down a dangerous wabbit hole


Ba-dee, a dee, that’s all, Pepé! This week, Pepé Le Pew, the handsy French skunk of “Looney Tunes,” became the latest cultural fixture to get the guillotine when he was axed from the upcoming movie “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” amid shouts that the cartoon character is a rapist. Dave Chappelle first pointed out Pepé’s pervy ways in a 2000 comedy special called “Killin’ Them Softly.” The comedian made a funny joke about him, we laughed and everybody moved on. I grant you, some of those gropey old Pepé episodes can make you cringe nowadays as if they were part of a documentary about 2021 Albany. But before Warner Bros. turned the little guy into roadkill, couldn’t they have first tried to change up the character’s image for the LeBron James-led sequel? Reportedly, in the cut scene he was going to learn something about consent. Pepé could’ve morphed into a harmless flirt, or a pretentious Frenchman instead of a lech. Not this time. Le Pew is l’histoire. And, as you might imagine with an animated show that began in 1930, just about everyone and everything in “Looney Tunes” is objectionable by today’s puritanical standards.

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