Steve Whitmire, the puppeteer who played Kermit the Frog for 27 years, has said that he’s ‘devastated’ after being fired by Disney.
In a lengthy blog post, he explained how he’d ‘remained silent the last nine months in hopes that the Disney company might reverse their course’.
According to Whitmire, rather than quitting as Kermit, he was being re-cast.
“I would never consider abandoning Kermit or any of the others because to do so would be to forsake the assignment entrusted to me by Jim Henson, my friend and mentor, but even more, my hero,” he wrote.
“As I am sure you can imagine, I have experienced every possible emotion since October 2016, when I received a phone call from The Muppets Studio’s executives to say they were recasting.
“Through a new business representative, I have offered multiple remedies to their two stated issues which had never been mentioned to me prior to that phone call. I wish that we could have sat down, looked each other in the eye, and discussed what was on their minds before they took such a drastic action.
“Given the opportunity I remain willing to do whatever is required to remedy their concerns because I feel my continued involvement with the characters is in the best interest of the Muppets.
“For decades, you have been an invaluable partner in co-creating the existence of the Muppets, and I am humbled by your devotion to them. There is so much more for us to talk about so I have created this site as a place to connect and share on all things Muppet, past, present and future.”
Disney said in a statement: “The Muppets Studio thanks Steve for his tremendous contributions to Kermit the Frog and The Muppets franchise. We wish him well in his future endeavors.”
Whitmire joined The Muppet Show in 1978, and took over from the late Jim Henson voicing Kermit following his death in 1990.
As well as voicing Kermit, he performed countless characters on shows from Sesame Street to Fraggle Rock, and played the frog in recent movies ‘The Muppets’ and ‘Muppets Most Wanted’.
He’s being succeeded by Matt Vogel, who played Kermit doppelgänger Constantine in ‘Muppets Most Wanted’, and the likes of Ernie, The Count and Big Bird.