The looney Tunes cartoon character Pepe Le Pew has bacome the cancel mobs latest target, after New York Times columnist Charles Blow argued that the skunk “normalized rape culture.”
Tweeting a scene from the Warner Bros. classic cartoon series on Saturday, Blow wrote: “Right-wing blogs are mad because I said Pepe Le Pew added to rape culture…..Let’s see, he grabs/kisses a girl/stranger repeatedly, without consent and against her will. She struggles mightily to get away from him, but he won’t release her. He locks a door to prevent her from escaping.“
RT reports: Blow added that Pepe Le Pew “helped teach boys that ‘no’ didn’t really mean no” and that overcoming a woman’s strenuous or even physical resistance was “normal, adorable, funny. They didn’t even give the woman the ability to speak.”
The columnist’s latest anti-Pepe tirade came after conservative commentators, such as Kevin Michael Grace and the Media Research Center, mocked the Times for demonizing Pepe, another cartoon character, following the cancel mob’s assault on Dr. Seuss in recent days. The Media Research Center wrote that Blow was “one-upping the already overdone outrage” over allegedly racist undertones in some Dr. Seuss books.
Blow argued in his column on Wednesday that racism “must be exorcised from culture, including, or maybe especially, from children’s culture.” He cheered on the fact that six Dr. Seuss books were removed from publication.
But Blow didn’t stop there, saying that Pepe Le Pew “normalized rape culture,” and another Looney Tunes character, Speedy Gonzales, had friends who “helped popularize the corrosive stereotype of the drunk and lethargic Mexicans.” He went on to reveal racist themes in such old TV shows as ‘Tarzan’, ‘Our Gang’ and westerns that depicted Native Americans as “bloodthirsty savages against whom valiant white men were forced to fight.”
Social media users argued that Blow was missing the point on multiple levels. For instance, voice actor Shawn Strickland said, “It’s a cartoon. It’s a funny one. The cat looks like a skunk, and Pepe is confused. The cat refuses every advance. Hilarity ensues.”
Others pointed out that viewers understood Pepe’s actions to be wrong, which is why it was satisfying that he failed to win over the lady cat in every episode. Still others pointed out that fussing over a cartoon character who was created 75 years ago is symptomatic of a corrosive culture: “Imagine having absolutely nothing going on in your life that you sit around and invent things to be mad at.”