Muppets Studio: Kermit the Frog Voice Actor Was Fired for ‘Unacceptable Business Conduct’

Biggest Turkeys
Courtesy of ABC

UPDATED: The Muppet Studio, the division of The Walt Disney Co. responsible responsible for the Muppets, said Monday that it fired Kermit the Frog voice actor Steve Whitmire after “repeated unacceptable business conduct over a period of many years.”

“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,” a Muppet Studio spokesperson said in a statement Monday. “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 revealed Monday that he was fired in October after voicing Kermit for 27 years. He and late Muppets creator Jim Henson are the only two performers to have ever voiced the character. Whitmire claimed that he was let go after clashing with Disney over its handling of Kermit.

In a post on his personal blog Monday, Whtimire wrote: “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.”

Whitmire began working with Henson in 1979, and began performing as Kermit in 1990 after Henson’s death.

On Tuesday, Cheryl Henson, Jim Henson’s daughter, wrote on Facebook, “Steves version of history is ridculously self serving. My father never asked him to perform Kermit, my brother Brian did. Steve’s performance as Kermit has strayed far away from my father’s good hearted, compassionate leader of the Muppets. Steve performed Kermit as a bitter, angry, depressed victim. Worst of all, in the last few years he had not been not funny or fun. Recasting Kermit is long over due. Stop with the pity party! Let’s get back to the true spirit of Jim Henson’s Kermit!”

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 15

Leave a Reply

15 Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Carolee Thumma says:

    On another site they said they have problems with Steve since almost the beginning…so for 27 years he was “out of line” but they kept him around anyway. And why do they have “writers” on shows that the muppets appear on…was Steve writing his own scripts and they let him for 27 years but NOW they have a problem.

    How much you want to be that Kermit is going to get a lot more “Adult” in the future.

  2. Lawrence Han says:

    “repeated unacceptable business conduct over a period of many years.” – Have to wonder what “Unacceptable Business conduct means”.

  3. Renee Rose says:

    A company has the legal right to fire anyone for any reason regardless if there was nothing done on the employee’s side at all. It’s just the law. Unless there’s a discrimination issue, there’s nothing to be said or done. I’m betting he is obligated to a signed nondisclosure even if he no longer works there.

  4. elliotjames2 says:

    Corporate non-speak. Just say no comment.

  5. An actor was fired from a long term job. No one really knows the details because it’s a personnel issue. No need to take sides just because you hate Disney (or love Disney).

  6. Weary says:

    Mr. Mouse rules with an iron fist.

  7. Jay P. says:

    The only unacceptable business conduct here is on the part of Disney. Steve had the legacy of Jim Henson to protect, while the suits prioritize their own financial interests over creativity and respect for the performers. Sadly, these are no longer Jim Henson’s Muppets. I’m with Steve. Screw Disney.

    • EAGalloway says:

      Amen. He along with Frank OZ and Dave Golez constantly complained to Disney about the muppets being made into a wink wink nudge nudge adult property.

      • Jay P. says:

        And you’ve got some serious problems, “Anonymous”. How’s your @fleecethroat Twitter smear campaign working out for you? Be well and please get some professional help.

      • Anonymous says:

        You and Jay P. are wrong and idiotic.

  8. Mark says:

    Can you please update this to read puppeteer or performer instead of voice actor? They Muppets aren’t animated.

    Thanks,
    Mark

More TV News from Variety

Loading