Disney Says it Fired Kermit The Frog Actor Over ‘Hostile,’ ‘Unacceptable’ Conduct
Gulp — Disney has officially weighed in on why it fired Kermit The Frog voice actor Steve Whitmire after Whitmire's three decades with the company, and it's hardly child's play.
Earlier this month, Whitmire said he was "devastated" about having been let go from the company, which had employed him since 1978. He vaguely alluded to two reasons for his firing, but an unnamed Muppets Studio source has since told The Hollywood Reporter Whitmire's termination was pretty cut and dry.
“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 source said, adding Whitmire was "overly hostile and unproductive." “The decision to part ways was a difficult one which was made in consultation with the Henson family and has their full support.”
Whitmire had been voicing Kermit, specifically, since 1990, and told THR that he felt very powerful obligation to do Jim Henson's iconic character justice, even if that meant occasional battle.
“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,” he told THR. “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.”
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