Washington D.C. isn’t the only swamp that’s swamped with drama right now.
After news broke last week that Disney had fired Steve Whitmire, the man who has voiced Kermit the Frog for the past 27 years, The Hollywood Reporter sat down with him for an interview and it’s quite clear that bygones are not bygones between Disney and Whitmire.
The reason for Whitmire’s firing? Unwanted script notes and unsolicited opinions about Kermit’s trajectory.
Whitemire’s notes were often in response to certain moral choices he didn’t think Kermit would make. For example, he took issue with an episode of the new ABC series, canceled after one season, that had Kermit lying to his nephew about his relationship with Miss Piggy.
“I don’t think Kermit would lie to him,” Whitmire said. “I think that as Robin came to Kermit, he would say ‘Things happen, people go their separate ways, but that doesn’t mean we don’t care about you.’ Kermit is too compassionate to lie to him to spare his feelings.”
“We have been doing these characters for a long, long time and we know them better than anybody. I thought I was aiding to keep it on track, and I think a big reason why the show was canceled (after one season last fall) was because that didn’t happen. I am not saying my notes would have saved it, but I think had they listened more to all of the performers, it would have made a really big difference.”
Disney, for its part, did not appreciate Whitmire’s feedback. A spokesperson for Disney cited “unprofessional business conduct” as the reason for Whitmire’s firing.
I suppose the moral of the story is, if you ever find yourself portraying a talking cloth frog on national television, try not to get too attached to who he is emotionally. It’ll only lead to trouble.
Becky Scott is the editor of The Schmooze. Follow her on Twitter, @arr_scott