The powers that be in Hollywood announced Sunday that Pepé Le Pew, the "controversial French skunk from Looney Tunes," will no longer appear in the long-awaited Space Jam sequel due to the animated character's longstanding history of sexually inappropriate behavior involving other cartoon characters.
Le Pew, who appeared in the original Space Jam film alongside Michael Jordan, was supposed to appear in an empowering scene with actress Greice Santo. When the skunk begins to kiss Santo's arm at a bar, she reacts by pulling away and slamming him into a chair.
The scene also involved the film's star, pro-China activist and basketball personality LeBron James, who warns Le Pew not to touch others without their consent. Santo is reportedly upset that the scene was cut because it was intended to "let younger girls and younger boys know that Pepe's behavior is unacceptable."
Hollywood's decision to punish Le Pew, who has been criticized in the New York Times for normalizing "rape culture," came several days after two more women came forward over the weekend to accuse Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D., N.Y.) of sexual harassment.
A total of five women have now alleged that the so-called Luv Guv engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior. Cuomo, who is currently being investigated by the state attorney general's office, has refused to resign even as members of his own party have urged him to step down.
Nevertheless, the embattled governor remains the proud winner of an International Emmy Award, given "in recognition of his leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic & his masterful use of TV to inform and calm people around the world."
Cuomo accepted the honor via livestream in November, as the number of COVID-19 cases were surging in New York and elsewhere. Celebrities such as Robert De Niro, Ben Stiller, and Billy Crystal lavished praise on the governor for his leadership in the early days of the pandemic.
Since then, Cuomo's administration was caught manipulating state health care data to conceal the alarmingly high COVID-related death toll among New York's nursing home population. In light of the controversy, New York City councilman Robert Holden, a Democrat, has called on the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences to revoke Cuomo's award.
"We now know that his TV appearances and clout were used to mislead the public regarding how their loved ones died," Holden wrote in mid-February. "Please rescind the governor's award immediately, as his actions have been an insult to every New Yorker who lost a loved one during this terrible pandemic."
The academy has yet to respond.
Critics have already cited the disparate treatment of Le Pew and Cuomo as yet another example of Hollywood's double standard on sexual misconduct. Le Pew, a foreigner who is ineligible to vote in U.S. elections, is deprived of a role that could have revived his flagging career. Cuomo, on the other hand, is a powerful Democrat who hobnobs with celebs.