Kermit the Frog actor fired for "unacceptable business conduct"
UPI News Service, 07/18/2017
Steve Whitmire, the voice behind lead Muppet Kermit the Frog, was fired recently due to "unacceptable business conduct" said Muppets Studio which is owned by Disney.
"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," Muppets Studio said in their full statement.
"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," they continued.
Whitmire will be replaced by Matt Vogel who is taking over voicing the iconic character starting with the newest edition of "Muppets Thought of the Week," a weekly web video that premieres across the Muppets' social media channels.
Whitmire first took on the role of Kermit starting in 1990 following the death of Muppets creator Jim Henson.
The actor's last notable work as Kermit was seen during ABC's short-lived comedy series, "The Muppets."
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Whitmire says that his objections to aspects surrounding Muppets led to his termination along with a union disagreement.
"The first issue was that they felt I had been 'disrespectful' in being outspoken on character issues with the small group of top creative people during the ABC series," Whitmire said.
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"I have been outspoken about what's best for the Muppets since the Muppets came to Disney, but the fact is I have respect for everyone who was involved in the creation of that series for their own particular contributions. At the same time, I also have insight into their limitations with respect to how well they know the Muppets."
Whitmire further discussed his firing on his blog Sunday, writing, "I see my most important task as providing a taste of the atmosphere created by Jim Henson to those Post-Jim core performers who will never otherwise come by it. My hope was to install it directly into their hearts and minds so that they could, in turn, be inspired to do the same for the next generation of performers instead of the characters becoming stale copies of their former selves. But, as I look around at what is presently transpiring it's clear to me that the job is far from done."
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