Jarrod Fairclough – The past 72 hours has been a whirlwind after we and ToughPigs announced that Steve Whitmire was no longer with The Muppets. I knew it was going to be news worthy, but I never expected to wake up three days in a row with emails from NPR, BBC, The Washington Post, and various other news outlets, all asking for my opinion on the situation. And, for those few days, I’ve kept my opinion to myself, because I wanted the news at hand to be what people focused on, not what I might have to say on the matter.
And then, after I thought it was all done and dusted, Steve Whitmire (allegedly) released a statement, claiming that he was disappointed and disheartened by Disney’s removal of him from the franchise, which has kicked up a whole other stink, with Muppet fans ready to grab their pitchforks and flaming sticks and burn it all down to the ground.
The issue is, I don’t know who to defend in this situation. If I defend Disney, I upset Steve. If I defend Steve, I upset Disney. Hence the title of this post. And the truth is, the full story is not yet known, and very likely will not be anytime soon, meaning I’m incapable of making an informed decision, as are the rest of you. I can understand both points of view in this situation, and while I agree that I’d love to see Steve back, I get that Disney felt they needed to make this decision.
So, I won’t be defending anyone. But I can’t sit back and let some of these comments slide when they have been made in ignorance and anger.
Many have assumed Steve didn’t like the way Disney were handling The Muppets, and so he was fired and replaced with someone who would be easier to manipulate. This statement is extremely ignorant and disrespectful to Steve, Disney, and Matt Vogel, the new performer of Kermit.
Speaking of Matt, most comments have been supportive of him, however have been some disparaging words about his role. I cannot tell you how horrified I am that anyone would take this out on Matt, considering he is committed to doing his best in this situation. Next week, we’ll get to see this new Kermit, and I expect everyone to give Matt the time and support he needs to figure out this new role.
Steve may come back, however I truly doubt that will happen, at least not any time soon. Everyone is allowed to be angry and upset at this news, I know I am, however I hope going forward people are able to set this to one side and continue to love The Muppets as they always have. It’s been a hectic few days, and please, all of us, including Disney and Matt, need your help in moving forward, so that they can try and make the best Muppet productions they can.