A SOCIAL JUSTICE PETITION
Drafted by Doug Mortimer
Target: Time Warner
Theme: Toxic Masculinity
During World War II, Warner Bros. cartoons played a key role in the fight against fascism. Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny, et al took on the Nazis and bested them in numerous cartoons. Also to their credit, Warner Bros. produced a number of cartoons in which Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, and other characters broke free of gender stereotypes and donned attire more often associated with the “opposite” sex. Despite this enlightenment – exceedingly rare in those days – Warner Bros. gave birth to one of the most noxious cartoon characters ever created. We refer to the despicable Pepé Le Pew.
Longtime Warner Bros. animation director Chuck Jones introduced Pepé Le Pew in a cartoon called “Odor-Able Kitty” in 1945. Since that was the year Nazi Germany was defeated, one wonders what role Pepé Le Pew played during the Nazi occupation of France. Pepé began to appear in movies just as the war was ending, so one cannot help but wonder if his movie career was the payoff for collaborating with the enemy? Was Pepé Le Pew literally a Nazi?
In his Pepé Le Pew cartoons, Chuck Jones not only exhibited a highly insensitive attitude towards people who are afflicted with excessive body odor, he continually employed Gallic stereotypes. His worst offense, however, was misogyny. Blatant, rampant and flippant, it is evident in every Pepé Le Pew cartoon ever made.
Children Must Be Protected From Pepé
After the cartoons were shown in theaters, Pepé Le Pew was presented to children on Saturday morning television as a warm, fuzzy bon vivant. In reality, he is arguably the worst exemplar of rape culture that exists in the American media. Since he is always portrayed as suave and unflappable, at first blush he might appear to be a positive role model. Yet little boys who watch his cartoons are taught that groping females is appropriate behavior. Little girls are taught that being groped is acceptable. Vive la difference is no defense!
Without exception, Pepé Le Pew preys upon faux female skunks. In reality, they are black cats to whom a dorsal white stripe has been conveniently applied. Notice that Pepé does not attempt to oppress white cats. No, Pepé acknowledges their privilege and steers clear of them. But black female cats are fair game. Clearly, their rights are not being respected. To this we respond with the acronym “BPM.” Black pussy matters!
While Pepé Le Pew continually oppresses female felines of color, more importantly, he oppresses females of all species. The oppression of a female of any species is oppression towards females of all species. An injustice towards one is an injustice towards all.
Pepé Le Pew the PUA
Pepé Le Pew exemplifies the patriarchal privilege of the pickup artist. He has the audacity to believe that all feline females are his personal property and he can play grab-ass with them whenever he wants. He never asks permission before attempting physical intimacy. Apparently, he has never heard of “My derrière, my choice!”
Please understand that this Petition should not be construed as an attack on all skunks. Sadly, skunks are regularly shunned by other species and are frequently the victim of discrimination themselves. Indeed, in the caste system of creatures, skunks are the equivalent of untouchables. So let’s be perfectly clear that this Petition is aimed at Pepé Le Pew alone and not towards other members of his species. An odoriferous pelt is one thing, the stench of misogyny is another! Malodorous behavior is far more injurious than a malodorous body.
Pepé Le Pew Must Not Be Resurrected
Recently we find out that film-maker Max Landis has written a feature film with Pepé Le Pew as the central character. This is totally unacceptable. This project must not be allowed to proceed. No doubt this film will be marketed to children and we cannot allow another generation to be influenced by Pepé Le Pew’s toxicity.
Just as reprehensible as toxic masculinity is the merchandising of same. Today animation cells of Pepé Le Pew are in demand by collectors. The prices at animation art galleries often run into four figures. Pepé Le Pew souvenirs continue to be sold online and at the Warner Bros. studio gift shop in Burbank, California. It would not be inaccurate to assert that the profits on Time Warner’s balance sheet has been greatly enhanced by Pepé Le Pew and his flaunting of male privilege.
For all the above reasons, we encourage you to sign our online Petition to present to Time Warner to ban Pepé Le Pew from the airwaves, from any theatrical showings of “classic” cartoons, and from producing any more “entertainment” or merchandise with his image.
73 years of Pepé Le Pew’s misogyny is enough. In many respects, cartoons and cartoon characters have become laudably progressive, but the pace has been that of an escargot. We still have a long way to go!
Pepé Le Pew must be consigned to the dustbin of animation history, and the sooner the better. Still, we’re not holding our breath.
En garde, Time Warner. Les bon temps are over for you, Pepé .
For your convenience, we are spreading this petition through internet. You can sign at any of the following sites:
We, the undersigned people of the United States and worldwide, demand that TIME WARNER, by and through its subsidiaries, Warner Bros., Warner Bros. Family Entertainment, Warner Bros. Television, et al, to banish toute de suite all images of Pepé Le Pew, whether in the form of “classic” cartoons, stuffed animals, animation cells, comic books, or any other medium to ensure that impressionable young boys will never again fall under the influence of an animated sexual predator who has assaulted females of the feline persuasion for almost seven decades!