Cartoon French skunk Pepe Le Pew has been benched for Space Jam 2 amid claims that the Looney Tunes character "normalised rape culture."
Space Jam 2, also known as Space Jam: A New Legacy, recently showcased stunning new screenshots featuring NBA superstar LeBron James and 3D Bugs Bunny.
And now reports claim that Pepe has been axed from Space Jam 2 over a controversial scene.
The scene featured the skunk, who was first introduced in 1945, alongside Jane the Virgin actor Greice Santo.
According to Deadline, the hybrid live-action animation scene was shot in June 2019 under Space Jam 2's first director, Terence Nance.
But Space Jam 2's current director, Malcolm Lee, decided to cut the scene before it was animated.
Deadline detailed the scene involves Pepe "hitting on a woman at the bar played by Santo."
Pepe continues by kissing her on the arm before Santo's character "pulls back" and proceeds to slam his head into the chair next to her.
Speaking on the scene, Deadline wrote: "Pepe was set to appear in a black-and-white Casablanca-like Rick's Cafe sequence.
"Pepe, playing a bartender, starts hitting on a woman at the bar played by Santo. He begins kissing her arm, which she pulls back, then slamming Pepe into the chair next to hers.
"She then pours her drink on Pepe, and slaps him hard, sending him spinning in a stool, which is then stopped by LeBron James' hand.
"James and Bugs Bunny are looking for Lola, and Pepe knows her whereabouts.
"Pepe then tells the guys that Penelope [Pussycat] has filed a restraining order against him.
"James makes a remark in the script that Pepe can't grab other Tunes without their consent."
Pepe's scene removal comes hot on the heels of The New York Times columnist Charles M Blow saying the skunk "added to rape culture."
Pepe, who also appeared in the Merrie Melodies series, has often sparked controversy in the past over his 'inappropriate touching' of female characters and unwanted advances.
The skunk was a member of the Tune Squad in the 1996 cult classic featuring basketball legend Michael Jordan.
Featured Image Credit: Warner Bros Pictures/YouTube
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