Steve Whitmire, the longtime voice of Kermit the Frog, was fired back in October and now, Debbie McClellan, head of the Muppets Studio division of Disney, is explaining what happened.
“The role of Kermit the Frog is an iconic one that is beloved by fans and we take our responsibility to protect the integrity of that character very seriously,” Debbie told the New York Times. “We raised concerns about Steve’s repeated unacceptable business conduct over a period of many years, and he consistently failed to address the feedback. The decision to part ways was a difficult one which was made in consultation with the Henson family and has their full support.”
Steve took over the voice of Kermit back in 1990 from creator Jim Henson. Jim’s son, Brian Henson, said that part of the problem was that Steve would “send emails and letters attacking everyone, attacking the writing and attacking the director.”
“They were uncomfortable with the way I had handled giving notes to one of the top creative executives on the series,” Steve said in his defense. “Nobody was yelling and screaming or using inappropriate language or typing in capitals. It was strictly that I was sending detailed notes. I don’t feel that I was, in any way, disrespectful by doing that.”
Another reason of his firing is reportedly over a video shoot that the Screen Actors Guild advised him not to participate in due to wage issues.