On the heels of Dr. Seuss being muzzled for racist depictions in a few books, another beloved childhood memory is also being called problematic … one Pepe Le Pew.
The Looney Tunes character fell into the crosshairs of NYT columnist Charles M. Blow — who wrote an op-ed titled “Six Seuss Books Bore a Bias” … where he argued racism is deeply embedded into American culture (especially pop culture) and fed to kids at a young age.
He brought up cartoons like Speedy Gonzales and Mammy Two Shoes — the former being another LT character he says pushed racist stereotypes against Mexicans and the latter being a Tom & Jerry character portrayed as a heavyset Black maid who speaks with a caricaturized voice. You usually just see her legs/feet … but her full figure was depicted too.
Those two examples specifically address his race concern, but he threw in Pepe as well as another ‘toon that telegraphed the wrong message … saying the French skunk normalized and perpetuated rape culture. Of course, a lot of people had very different reactions — some agreeing, and others lambasting Blow for suggesting a drawing could sway real-life behavior.