For 27 years, Steve Whitmire was the man behind Kermit the Frog’s distinctive voice. But recently, Disney decided to replace him.
The longtime Muppeteer posted his thoughts on his blog, writing that he was first notified of the recasting in a phone call in October of 2016.
While he was disappointed by the decision, he first spoke to the fans, writing, “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.”
Henson, who created the Muppets, was the original voice of Kermit and later passed the role on to Whitmire.
Whitmire took the firing personally and seemed to, at least in part, blame himself: “I am devastated to have failed in my duty to my hero.”
But elsewhere in the blog, he defended his qualifications by saying that he feels like he’s “at the top of my game” and that his work with the Muppets is “a calling, an urgent, undeniable, impossible to resist way of life.”
Disney issued a statement on the decision to recast Kermit: “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.”
The reasons behind Whitmire’s firing are unclear, but he hinted in his blog about trying to resolve certain issues: “I have offered multiple remedies to [Disney’s] two stated issues which had never been mentioned to me prior to that phone call.”
Fellow Muppeteer Matt Vogel will take over Kermit duties beginning next week.
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