After giving muppet star Kermit the Frog a voice for the past 27 years, voice actor Steve Whitmire has been fired for “repeated unacceptable business conduct over a period of many years” according to Variety.
Only two people have ever played the voice of Kermit – Whitmire since 1990 and Muppets creator Jim Henson, whom Whitmire took over from following his death.
To my friend Steve Whitmire, you made it seem easy being green. I look forward to our next team-up! pic.twitter.com/y3zkkeYn0q
— Tom Bergeron (@Tom_Bergeron) July 12, 2017
A spokesperson for The Muppet Studio, which is a division of Walt Disney issued a statement saying, “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. 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.”
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter Whitmire claims he was let go after 27 years because, “I have been outspoken about what’s best for the Muppets since the Muppets came to Disney (2004).”
Whitmire told The Hollywood Reporter that there was a magic to Kermit he will never forget, “The look he brings into the eyes of anyone of any age who meets him in person. I can’t take credit for that, but have been truly honored to keep Jim’s spirit intact.”
The voice of Kermit will now be played by Matt Vogel.