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Pepe Le Pew was cut from ‘Space Jam 2.’ His costar wants the footage

Diptych of Greice Santo and a cartoon skunk
Actress Greice Santo says she is disappointed that her scene with Pepe Le Pew has been cut from the “Space Jam” sequel.
(Eric Jamison / Invision /AP; Warner Bros. / ABC)

Pepé Le Pew has been cut from the upcoming sequel “Space Jam: A New Legacy” — but could complete footage of his scene with actress Greice Santo exist?

A representative for Santo believes it does and is offering a $100,000 “reward” to anyone who provides the footage of their animated/live-action exchange.

Warner Bros. responded in a letter to The Times, “it is a crime for someone to solicit another to steal and distribute Warner Bros.’ property.”

After publication of this story, Santo’s representative contacted The Times to state the offer is to pay Warner Bros. for the footage.

A source close to production confirmed no footage is for sale.

The scene in question involves the problematic animated skunk approaching the live-action character portrayed by Santo in a bar. She pushes Pepé away when he starts kissing her arm, then she pours her drink on him. She eventually backhands the persistent skunk, which sends his barstool spinning before it is stopped by the film’s star, LeBron James.

Pepé Le Pew won’t reprise his “Space Jam” role in the sequel, but the cartoon skunk was cut before a writer recently linked the character to rape culture.

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Santo, who posted a playful Instagram shot of herself on set, told The Times that she was disappointed to learn that the scene had been cut from the film. She said its message was meaningful to her as someone who had spoken out against sexual harassment.

“For me, it was so important to have this scene in a movie to inspire the younger generations, and also the older generations, so we can correct that behavior,” said Santo, who is best known for portraying the telenovela character Blanca in “Jane the Virgin.” “I felt that this scene was a way to show kids that this kind of behavior is wrong.”

Although Santo says she understands that things like this happen over the course of a production, she hopes the footage can be released in one way or another. And if it can’t, she says she will not be deterred from continuing her work for the cause. She previously recorded a single about standing up to sexual harassment and her charity, Glam with Greice, works to uplift women who have been victims of abuse or bullying through Hollywood makeovers.

According to Deadline, which first reported on the deleted scene, the sequence was cut before Pepé Le Pew came under renewed scrutiny, including a New York Times column that said the character “normalized rape culture.”

A production source confirms the scene was removed from the “Space Jam” sequel after director Malcolm D. Lee boarded the project. The film’s original director, Terence Nance, left the production, and Pepé was never animated for the live-action footage that had been shot.

Santo said she learned that the scene was removed from a source close to the production but was not sure who made the decision.

Warner Bros. declined further comment.

Updates

7:15 p.m. March 11, 2021: This story has been updated with additional information from Santo’s representative.

12:32 p.m. March 11, 2021: This story has been updated with response from Warner Bros.


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