Steve Whitmire, longtime voice of Kermit the Frog, stopped by Today and fired back at recent criticism that’s been hurled his way by the Muppets Studio and from Muppets creator Jim Henson’s children. Whitmire was fired last fall after voicing Kermit for 27 years but has stayed quiet about the firing until a recent post on his website.
At the time of his firing, Whitmire was under the impression that not only did he have a long future with the Muppets but also his role was about to expand.
“We had been talking prior to that, for the two years before that, about me becoming sort of a creative producer with them, working alongside the two executives who I spoke to, where I would have been really a part of the day-to-day decision making on The Muppets. And I was thrilled about that,” Whitmire said.
Whitmire has been accused of being difficult to work with and with making outrageous demands. Today caught up with Henson’s daughter, Cheryl, who gave her thoughts on the firing.
“Steve is very difficult to work with. And it’s been many years of it being difficult, particularly for the producers,” Cheryl Henson said. “He’s not Kermit. He’s a performer who was hired to do Kermit. There’s a difference.”
Whitmire disagrees with Henson’s assessment and thinks the change could have a negative effect on the Muppets.
“In my mind, my mentoring with Jim tells me that the minute the Muppets are reduced to being roles that are auditioned for and cast, it takes all the individuality out of them. Their longevity is completely based on their consistency, and that is just super-important. Otherwise, it’s not Kermit or any of the Muppets at all. That’s what I’ve tried to push for and be outspoken about,” Whitmire said.
He will be replaced by longtime Muppet and Sesame Street performer Matt Vogel.
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