Space Jam 2 actor defends Speedy Gonzales against ‘stereotype’ backlash: ‘U can’t catch me cancel culture’

Comments follow shortly after news that the character of Pepe Le Pew is cut from sequel

Annabel Nugent@annabelnugent
Monday 08 March 2021 10:11
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Space Jam (1996) - trailer

Gabriel Iglesias, the voice actor for the cartoon Speedy Gonzales in Space Jam: A New Legacy, has defended the character against criticism. 

In the same vein as the original 1996 movie Space Jam, which starred Michael Jordan, the forthcoming sequel will feature a roster of Looney Toons characters alongside Lakers legend Lebron James

Speedy Gonzales, a bilingual animated mouse who speaks with a Mexican accent and wears a sombrero, attracted criticism in the wake of a New York Times article that discussed problematic implications behind some children’s cartoons.

Journalist Charles M Blow wrote: “Speedy Gonzales, whose friends helped popularise the corrosive stereotype of the drunk and lethargic Mexicans”.

However, Iglesias – who will voice the mouse in A New Legacy – took to Twitter to defend the cartoon amid the controversy.

The comedian wrote: “I am the voice of Speedy Gonzales in the new Space Jam. Does this mean they are gonna try to cancel Fluffy too? U can’t catch me cancel culture. I’m the fastest mouse in all of Mexico.”

Iglesias, also known as Fluffy, currently stars in Netflix’s teen show Mr Iglesias. His post has since received nearly 18,000 likes from supporters on Twitter. 

Speedy Gonzales has been voiced by almost 20 different actors over the years. Among the most famous incarnations was by the late voice actor Mel Blanc, who played him from the character’s inception in 1953 until 1986.

Iglesias’s comments follow shortly after news that the character of Pepe Le Pew will not be appearing in the Space Jam sequel.

In light of The New York Times article, which argued that the animated French skunk “normalised rape culture”, a scene for the sequel shot in June 2019 was cut from the final film.

RELATED: Wacky synopsis for Space Jam sequel revealed

According to Deadline, the scene in question saw Pepe as a bartender who repeatedly kisses and flirts with a woman (played by Greice Santo) despite her protests. 

The film’s director has also confirmed that the character of Lola Bunny will no longer be “sexualised” in the sequel.

The anthropomorphic rabbit was originally drawn to have an hourglass figure and breasts.

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Malcolm D Lee said he was caught off guard by how “very sexualised” Lola Bunny was in the original film.

A New Legacy was filmed over the last two NBA (National Basketball Association) off-seasons and is slated for release on 16 July 2021. 

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