Fox host Maria Bartiromo can’t get guest to agree that Pepé Le Pew is the latest victim of cancel culture gone ‘overboard’

Maria Bartiromo
Maria Bartiromo. Roy Rochlin/Getty Images
  • Maria Bartiromo suggested Pepé le Pew was the latest victim of cancel culture gone “overboard.”
  • The cartoon skunk has been scrapped from the upcoming “Space Jam” sequel.
  • A guest on Bartiromo’s show said it might be time for the skunk to go.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

The Fox Business Network host Maria Bartiromo on Tuesday struggled to get a guest to agree with her that the cartoon character Pepé Le Pew was the latest example of cancel culture gone awry.

The salacious “Looney Tunes” skunk has been scrapped from the line-up for the upcoming “Space Jam” sequel, and Bartiromo suggested this was an instance of cancel culture going “overboard.”

“Cancel culture takes on cartoons,” Bartiromo said at the top of the segment, which was first pointed out by Mediaite. “Bugs Bunny better watch out – they’re coming for him.”

The Wall Street Journal writer Jon Hilsenrath, who joined Bartiromo to discuss the skunk’s fate, was not on the same page.

“Maria, I’m watching those videos that you have of this – I always used to think that cartoon was funny – but he is kind of grabbing and groping in ways that are just totally unacceptable today,” Hilsenrath said. “I kind of think norms change over time. And maybe it’s time for Pepé Le Pew to beat it.”

Pushing back, Bartiromo said: “But I mean are we going overboard here – Dr. Seuss, Mr. Potato Head? Come on, Jon.”

“I mean, I think we can go overboard. But watch that video. He’s grabbing that poor little cat in ways that you could never get away with right now,” Hilsenrath said in response, referring to Pepé Le Pew.

It’s not entirely clear why the skunk will not be in the upcoming film, according to reporting from NBC News, but there’s speculation it’s linked to criticism of the character’s tendency to make unwanted advances.

Even as far back as 2000, Pepé Le Pew faced scrutiny. At the time, the comedian Dave Chappelle referred to the skunk as a “rapist.”

More recently, a New York Times opinion piece by Charles Blow, which was cited by Bartiromo in Tuesday’s segment, said Pepé Le Pew normalized “rape culture.”

Fox has focused heavily on cancel culture in recent coverage, with hosts like Tucker Carlson bashing a recent move to stop the publication of six Dr. Seuss books that contained racist imagery. Republicans in Congress like Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio have echoed these sentiments, prompting criticism from Democrats who say the GOP has warped priorities.

“House Democrats are the party of crushing the coronavirus and providing relief to everyday Americans,” Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York said Tuesday. “House Republicans are the party of fake outrage as it relates to Dr. Seuss.”