Tuesday, 26 September, 2017

Drama For Disney Over Firing Of Kermit The Frog Voice Actor

FIRED VOICE OF KERMIT THE FROG, STEVE WHITMIRE, SAYS HE'S 'DEVASTATED' Steve Whitmire, fired puppeteer behind Kermit the Frog, says he's 'devastated'
Stacy Diaz | 18 July, 2017, 09:43

Steve Whitmire, the actor who voiced Kermit the Frog on The Muppets for 27 years, was sacked by Disney over "repeated unacceptable business conduct", according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Whitmire spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about why he says he was sacked by The Muppets Studio after 27 years as Kermit.

The Hollywood Reporter and ABC News reported that longtime Muppets performer Matt Vogel (who voices the Count and other characters) will take over as Kermit.

Now, in a personal blog post from Whitmire, he's revealed that he didn't jump - he was pushed. Whitmire believes that he was acting in the best interests of The Muppets as characters, and he thinks part of the reason the show got canceled is because the people working on it didn't trust the input of performers like him. Whitmire told the Hollywood Reporter that he felt that he had been canned because execs "felt [he] had been "disrespectful" in being outspoken on character issues" with creative staff. I have been outspoken about what's best for the Muppets since the Muppets came to Disney [in 2004], but the fact is I have respect for everyone who was involved in the creation of that series for their own particular contributions. "I feel that I am at the top of my game, and I want all of you who love The Muppets to know that I would never consider abandoning Kermit". A source close to the studio told THR that Whitmire's communication style was "overly hostile and unproductive".

On Monday, the Muppets Studio said that it had let Steve Whitmire - who had performed Kermit since Henson croaked in 1990 - go because of "unacceptable business conduct over a period of many years", saying, "He consistently failed to address the feedback". "The decision to part ways was a hard one which was made in consultation with the Henson family and has their full support".

What kind of unacceptable business conduct, you might ask?

The former Kermit the Frog voice actor said that he's still confused why Disney chose to end his 39-year career the way they did.

"I don't think Kermit would lie to him", Whitmire told THR. Whitmire said he had only been trying to help keep the show "on track".

The two made TV appearances on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon", and "Saturday Night Live" and in recent films like "Muppets Most Wanted".

The voice actor further stated about how he kept silent for nine months after receiving a call from the Muppet Studios in October 2016 telling him that there will be a change of casting and that to keep his post, he offered remediation on the two stated issues the management mentioned.

Vogel will make his debut as Kermit in a "Muppet Thought of the Week" web video this week, according to a Muppets Studio spokeswoman.