Disney has released its own version of events regarding the firing of Steve Whitmire from The Muppets. It reads:
The role of Kermit the Frog is an iconic one that is beloved by fans and we take our responsibility to protect the integrity of that character very seriously. We raised concerns about Steve’s repeated unacceptable business conduct over a period of many years and he consistently failed to address the feedback. The decision to part ways was a difficult one which was made in consultation with the Henson family and has their full support.
Whitmire, for his part, has put his side of the story in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, that you can read here. In it, he cites a union dispute, and having voiced concerns about the direction of the character.
Last week, we posted the sad news that the wonderful Steve Whitmire, a man who started working with Jim Henson and The Muppets back in 1978, was no longer set to perform Kermit The Frog. Whitmire took over as Kermit after the tragic death of Henson, and has performed the character for over 25 years.
In a new blog post, though, Whitmire has now revealed that the choice to stop being Kermit was not his. And that, in fact, he was effectively fired from the role.
The part of his blog post where he discussed this reads:
As I am sure you can imagine, I have experienced every possible emotion since October 2016, when I received a phone call from The Muppets Studio’s executives to say they were recasting. Through a new business representative, I have offered multiple remedies to their two stated issues which had never been mentioned to me prior to that phone call. I wish that we could have sat down, looked each other in the eye, and discussed what was on their minds before they took such a drastic action.
I have remained silent the last nine months in hopes that the Disney company might reverse their course. Doing what is best for the Muppets is the lens through which all my interactions have been filtered. Given the opportunity I remain willing to do whatever is required to remedy their concerns because I feel my continued involvement with the characters is in the best interest of the Muppets.
Whitmire also reaffirmed – as if we needed telling – his love of The Muppets. He signs off by saying “I am devastated to have failed in my duty to my hero”. To which we’d just say: Mr Whitmire, you’ve not failed him at all.
The full post is here.