Muppets Studio is weighing in on why Steve Whitmire was let go last week after 27 years as the puppeteer behind Kermit the Frog.
A spokesperson for the studio told TheWrap that the performer was let go due to his “repeated unacceptable business conduct.”
“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,” the spokesperson said.
“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 studio continued. “The decision to part ways was a difficult one which was made in consultation with the Henson family and has their full support.”
Whitmire, who is being replaced as the voice of Kermit by Matt Vogel, has penned multiple blog posts offering his side of the story. Last week, Whitmire wrote that he was let go and is “devastated to have failed in my duty” to the late Jim Henson.
He said Disney informed him in October 2016 that the role was being recast. He added that he is “willing to do whatever is required to remedy their concerns.”
In a post over the weekend, Whitmire wrote that “Muppet performers are not interchangeable.”