Steve Whitmire no longer is the performer bringing Kermit the Frog to life. Since 1978, he has been a part of the Muppet family. This no longer is true. As DAPs Magic reported last week, the role of Kermit the Frog has been passed on. Matt Vogel will now be carrying the mantel of Kermit the Frog.
Steve Whitmire shared his perspective on the change. This was a change that was not voluntary on his part. It also clearly has been painful as he hoped for a change of mind from Disney. He shared his feelings and side of the story in the first blog post on his new website.
In the post he expressed that for him, “the Muppets are not just a job, or a career, or even a passion. They are a calling, an urgent, undeniable, impossible to resist way of life.” He also shared, “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 or any of the others because to do so would be to forsake the assignment entrusted to me by Jim Henson, my friend and mentor, but even more, my hero.”
As to why he is no longer with The Muppets, here is his account of what happened:
“As I am sure you can imagine, I have experienced every possible emotion since October 2016, when I received a phone call from The Muppets Studio’s executives to say they were recasting. Through a new business representative, I have offered multiple remedies to their two stated issues which had never been mentioned to me prior to that phone call. I wish that we could have sat down, looked each other in the eye, and discussed what was on their minds before they took such a drastic action.”
Steve Whitmire also shared that he had been holding out hope that he would be able to return to The Muppets. He said, “I have remained silent the last nine months in hopes that the Disney company might reverse their course. Doing what is best for the Muppets is the lens through which all my interactions have been filtered. Given the opportunity I remain willing to do whatever is required to remedy their concerns because I feel my continued involvement with the characters is in the best interest of the Muppets.”
He concluded the first blog post on his newly setup website by saying, “I just want you all to know that I am sorry if I have disappointed any of you at any point throughout our journey, and to let everyone know that I am devastated to have failed in my duty to my hero.”
Muppet Pundit is where “Muppet Performer Steve Whitmire shares his in-depth insights and opinions on all things Muppet,” according to the description on his site.
The Muppet Studios released the following statement to TIME regarding Whitmire: “The Muppets Studio thanks Steve for his tremendous contributions to Kermit the Frog and The Muppets franchise. We wish him well in his future endeavors.”
What do you think of both Whitmire and the Muppets Studio’s statements?