Puppeteer Steve Whitmire, inseparable from Kermit the Frog for 27 years, has spoken out about his recent firing from Disney-owned company.
In an emotional blog post, Whitmire, 57, spoke of failing in his duty to Muppet’s creator Jim Henson.
“I feel that I am at the top of my game, and I want all of you who love the Muppets to know that 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.”
Whitmire claims the decision came from Disney executives last October. It was explained in a call that they were recasting Kermit’s puppeteer over two “issues”. The puppeteer kept his silence until now in hopes they’d change their mind.
"I have offered multiple remedies to their two stated issues which had never been mentioned to me prior to that phone call,” he wrote.
Whitmire has worked with the Muppets since 1978, voicing Kermit since Henson’s death in 1990. He also worked as puppeteer for iconic characters Rizzo the Rat and Beaker.
Whitmire is being replaced by longtime Muppets puppeteer Matt Vogel, who has voiced Big Bird and The Count.
‘Rainbow Connection’ has never seemed so bittersweet.