From the Merrie Melodies animated series to the Space Jam movie, we have seen Pepé Le Pew on-screen on several occasions. Now, the 'Looney Tunes' are under criticism because of its character who is constantly on the quest for love. Or that's what we thought because Charles M. Blow has written in The New York Times that in reality, Pepé Le Pew “normalized rape culture”.
In the article, Blow wrote: 'Some of the first cartoons I can remember included Pepé Le Pew, who normalized rape culture; Speedy Gonzales, whose friends helped popularize the corrosive stereotype of the drunk and lethargic Mexicans; and Mammy Two Shoes, a heavyset Black maid who spoke in a heavy accent.'
On his adventures, we can remember Pepé Le Pew as the french skunk who is always following a black cat, trying to pursue his love. He thinks the cat is a skunk but Penelope Pussycat always runs away from him because of his horrible odor. “This helped teach boys that “no” didn’t really mean no, that it was a part of “the game”, the starting line of a power struggle. It taught overcoming a woman’s strenuous, even physical objections, was normal, adorable, funny. They didn’t even give the woman the ability to SPEAK.,” wrote Blow on his Twitter account. “Right-wing blogs are mad bc I said Pepe Le Pew added to rape culture. Let’s see. 1. He grabs/kisses a girl/stranger, repeatedly, w/o consent and against her will. 2. She struggles mightily to get away from him, but he won’t release her 3. He locks a door to prevent her from escaping."
This debate is not new, twenty years ago, comedian Dave Chapelle called Pepé Le Pew a rapist in his 2000s HBO Special, 'Killin' Them Softly.' “They use the TV to program us from a young age. You ever watch like a cartoon that you used to watch while you were little as an adult? That s**t is wild s**t” The Comedian then recalled watching the show with his nephew. 'I'm like good God, what kind of f**king rapist is this guy? I had to turn the channel real quick and turn on Sesame Street.”
Many people on social media are debating whether Blow and Chapelle are right or wrong, arguing that it is a fictional character with fun adventures and that no child would interpret Pepe Le Pew's behavior in such a horrible way. While on the other hand, people are saying that is because children are watching this, that they think it is normal.
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