Semantics: Family “Asked” – Jim “Chose”

I love Jim as a friend and mentor, while Cheryl loves him as a father. Don’t judge her emotional posts too harshly. I hope all of you and Cheryl, too, can understand that being outspoken about these very character issues to the top creative executives on the ABC series is at the core of the number one issue stated to me for my termination by The Muppets Studios.

35 thoughts on “Semantics: Family “Asked” – Jim “Chose”

  1. I guess in the heat of the moment, we can sometimes say things that come across as very harsh. Now we have social media, those things we say are there forever for the world to see and dissect. It’s scary. But it’s reality.

    1. My thoughts exactly. I’m glad when I was grieving that I didn’t have a permanent record of the things I said.

    2. Dear Mr. Whitmire,

      I’ve been an admirer and learned from your professionalism in sad, awkward or otherwise bad situations. I still am. If this is your writing on here, then, good for you trying to offer your side of the story, unaltered by dramatic editorial-interviews and others’ press releases.

      I was interested in hearing what you had to say in this ongoing open letter. But I have done what I can to find its unsubscribe buttons. I cannot help but accidentally read the demands and ruminations in the comments area. It just isn’t healthy to hear all of it repeatedly.

      Just when I thought I was done reading the blog… I also cannot help but mind my own business, watching the Colbert show for some sarcasm and satire on current certain political “events.” But sarcasm and satire is not something I feel is appropriate to what they called your “contract negotiations.” So now I cannot even watch this mainstream show in peace without fearing more Kermit sketches.

      Just a drop in the bucket here, but someone had to say it. I, one person, do not feel all the _______________ in the world can alter the course of corporate actions on the Muppets from the past few years.

      Fill in that ___ blank with what you will:
      –Soliciting at Bill Baretta and Brian and Cheryl and Lisa Henson’s active Facebook pages
      –Circular & pointless lawsuits between S.A.G./Henson/Dizney/Whitmire
      –I Hate Dizney type v-logs
      –Kickstarter/Gofundme campaigns for Kermit/Muppet/Whatnot
      –Facebook petitions, electronic signature poll websites etc “Hire Steve back or we boycott you!”
      –Or posting repetitively the same concept/opinion on a blog comments section. (That’s kind of Trump Twitter-y, I’m sorry.)

      In case anyone forgot how the internets works, everyone, including Dizney Lawyerz, can read all of this. I’m sorry to say, while a lot of the Fan[antic] emotions here are worthy and legit, they’re not professionally filtered. Some even create a negative impression for the Muppets, the fans, and Steve Whitmire’s opinions.

      Always forgive your opposition, always let them get in the last word, some say…

      Where’s the love?
      Where’s the art?
      Can we go back to the drawing board now?
      PLEASE? 😀

      There’s solutions, and it’s …something……….. else…

      Best prayers for some other outlet of the Muppet soul to pass into. (And here’s hoping that’s something native corporate language speakers, don’t have a translation for. WINK)

      Right then, I’m a human too. Gotta go clean the rabbit litterbox, paint a mural, check the glass kiln cone slump.

      Best of Regards, from some IP address in cyberspace.

  2. SW – pic is VERY small – I know the left side is Cheryl Henson’s facebook post which is available elsewhere full-size. what is on the right side??

    1. It is a quote by Jane Henson in 1990 on the recasting of Steve Whitmire as Kermit:

      “When Jim was alive, he said if anything happened to him, Kermit must go on right away. Because of Kermit’s significant place, Jim had eventually chosen who he thought could do it. But we don’t want to say who it is before the show. The performer needs time. Kermit won’t come back so strong at first. Then little by little, he will get his whole personality back.”

      So, by this, it wasn’t Brian just deciding that Steve should take over Kermit as Cheryl claims, but acting on his father’s wishes.

  3. Thank you Steve; I think a lot of us get the picture. …reminds me of something somebody once wrote, “Watch out for each other. Love everyone and forgive everyone, including yourself. Forgive your anger. Forgive your guilt. Your shame. Your sadness. Embrace and open up your love, your joy, your truth, and most especially your heart.” Words none of us should ever forget.

    1. Accidentally posted before proofreading, I guess one can’t delete or edit ones comments here
      – I’m not so sure the above quote is accurate, kindly disregard and see below.

  4. Thank you Steve; I think a lot of us get the picture. …reminds me of something somebody once wrote, “Please watch out for each other and love and forgive everybody. It’s a good life, enjoy it” Words none of us should ever forget.

  5. I admit it’s true that I did judge Cheryl very harshly when I saw her Facebook post… I felt such shock and outrage at her words, because I hold her and the rest of the Henson children at a higher standard in light of who they were raised by. However, this is a very emotional time, and I failed to consider that maybe she was venting before allowing herself to calm down and think things through more rationally. We’re all human, and we all make mistakes.

    That said, I wish Jane was still here. I’m sure she would have been in your court at this terrible time. She would, I feel, have been like a fierce lioness of grace and strength and set everything to right.

    In all the whirlwind of these events though, I hope you are still able to smile, to laugh even. It must be so difficult to keep your spirit light at a time like this. My prayer is that the LORD, Jesus Christ, is carrying you in His arms on this stretch of your journey, this trial of your life.

    ~

    One night a man had a dream.
    He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the LORD.
    Across the sky flashed scenes from his life.
    For each scene, he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand;
    one belonging to him, and the other to the LORD.
    When the last scene of his life flashed before him,
    he looked back at the footprints in the sand.
    He noticed that many times along the path of his life
    there was only one set of footprints.
    He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest
    and saddest times in his life.
    This really bothered him and he questioned the LORD about it.
    “LORD, you said that once I decided to follow You,
    You’d walk with me all the way.
    But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times
    in my life, there is only one set of footprints.
    I don’t understand why when I needed You most You would leave me.”
    The LORD replied, “My precious, precious child,
    I love you and I would never leave you.
    During your times of trial and suffering,
    when you see only one set of footprints…
    It was then that I carried you.”

    God bless you, Steve. <3

    1. Aww I loved that when I was small, would love to see flipper prints too for Steve though… 🙂

  6. Dear Mr. Whitmire,
    I’ve been an admirer and learned from your professionalism in sad, awkward or otherwise bad situations. I still am. If this is your writing on here, then, good for you trying to offer your side of the story, unaltered by dramatic editorial-interviews and others’ press releases.

    I was interested in hearing what you had to say in this ongoing open letter. But I have done what I can to find its unsubscribe buttons. I cannot help but accidentally read the demands and ruminations in the comments area. It just isn’t healthy to hear all of it repeatedly.

    Just when I thought I was done reading the blog… I also cannot help but mind my own business, watching the Colbert show for some sarcasm and satire on current certain political “events.” But sarcasm and satire is not something I feel is appropriate to what they called your “contract negotiations.” So now I cannot even watch this mainstream show in peace without fearing more Kermit sketches.

    Just a drop in the bucket here, but someone had to say it. I, one person, do not feel all the _______________ in the world can alter the course of corporate actions on the Muppets from the past few years.

    Fill in that ___ blank with what you will:
    –Soliciting at Bill Baretta and Brian and Cheryl and Lisa Henson’s active Facebook pages
    –Circular & pointless lawsuits between S.A.G./Henson/Dizney/Whitmire
    –I Hate Dizney type v-logs
    –Kickstarter/Gofundme campaigns for Kermit/Muppet/Whatnot
    –Facebook petitions, electronic signature poll websites etc “Hire Steve back or we boycott you!”
    –Or posting repetitively the same concept/opinion on a blog comments section (that’s kind of Trump Twitter-y, I’m sorry)

    In case anyone forgot how the internets works, everyone, including Dizney Lawyerz, can read all of this. I’m sorry to say, while a lot of the Fan[antic] emotions here are worthy and legit, they’re not professionally filtered. Some even create a negative impression for the Muppets, the fans, and Steve Whitmire’s opinions.

    Where’s the love?
    Where’s the art?
    Can we go back to the drawing board now?
    PLEASE? 😀
    There’s solutions, and it’s …something……….. else…

    Best prayers for some other outlet of the Muppet soul to pass into. (And here’s hoping that’s something native corporate language speakers, don’t have a translation for. WINK)

    Right then, I’m a human too. Gotta go clean the rabbit litterbox, paint a mural, check the glass kiln cone slump.

    Best of Regards, from some IP address in cyberspace.

    1. I don’t think I understand this post, sorry 😉
      This is Steve’s personal Blog with his own truths. I see no problem here.

      1. Steve has a right to put his thoughts and feelings out there. Also, as this is a public blog, people have the right to comment and give their thoughts and feelings on what it written. This is how social media works.

  7. I feel this is the perfect time and point in the Blog journey to post this item created just a couple of years ago.
    Much of this was written by Steve and shows how aligned he is with Jim, Kermit and the Muppets ethos. It’s very positive and inspirational.
    Worth paying attention to and watching until the end too 🙂
    https://youtu.be/zX7vQ2QB6Eo

    1. Unfortunately, creativity is not something Disney are too familiar with. They are happier with old tried and tested methods. Hence the amount of sequels and reboots they enjoy creating.

    2. Thanks for posting that. It was good to re-watch. Integral Theory can certainly be applied to this situation. Everyone, by definition, is “right” about their own feelings and internal experience.

  8. I haven’t noticed Kermit becoming depressed etc. Kermit has been very consistent, actually; any change in his demeanor would have been due to the material he was performing. Kermit still strikes me as the leader of the Muppets. I am sorry that Cheryl is hurting, but I don’t understand why she would post such vitriol. After all, you’re just telling your story. There’s no reason for such an attack from my viewpoint.

  9. Hi Steve – I presume these are the same character issues that caused Frank Oz to turn off the latest Muppets ABC shot after 15 minutes. The characters weren’t themselves.

  10. “I have one major rule: everybody is right. More specifically, everybody has some important pieces of the truth, and all of those pieces need to be honored and included.” — Ken Wilber

  11. Good post Mike!

    Steve did you write that TED appearance? I remember the first time I saw it I caught that you were set up to bring back the classic straw gag, I was on the edge of my seat waiting for you to deliver the payoff and you didn’t disappoint!

    I’ve been thinking a lot about my collective perception of Kermit as a “real person” and there is no doubt that most of it is from before May of 1990. The Kermit I know, the one I can conjure in my own imagination, exists primarily in the original 3 Muppet Movies and the Muppet show series, and subsequent appearances of the 80’s.

    If I may generalize, I feel most Muppet fans would agree that with the arguable exception of The Muppet Christmas Carol and some selected moments from other projects none of the films or scripted TV appearances ever reached the…shall we say level of authenticity, of previous formal productions. Yet the Muppets were still alive and out there trying to secure the right script and their place in modern entertainment. Therefore my fondest memories of Kermit, or perhaps more accurately I should say the moments when Kermit was most recognizable to me, post-1990 was when he was live on a talkshow, or appeared in unscripted or “informal” moments such as the TED talk Mike sights above. Therefore I have to credit a significant amount of what makes the Muppets, to me, more than nostalgia to Steve; I still believe in Kermit the Frog because of Steve Whitmire.

  12. This post right here – moreso than any of the others – cements for me your character, Mr. Whitmire 🙂 I’m sure it does for so many others as well, and is at the heart of the shock and dismay we feel both for you and right along side you during this difficult time…because the actions and words and “noise” surrounding the whole situation seems so counter to everything we believe about you. I have not had the pleasure of meeting you, but can wholeheartedly say that I for one am so glad that my faith and trust in you has not been misplaced. I’m also very glad that my instincts about “why” things have transpired were spot-on (not that my opinions or instincts mean squat in the grand scheme of things, mind you – but it’s always nice to know that what you’re seeing – or think you’re seeing – is what’s actually happening). Knowing how you were “raised” (for lack of a better term) on Jim’s life philosophy and outlook, and spent the better part of the last 30 years still immersed within it, it’s difficult to imagine a scenario in which you WOULDN’T behave with the grace and honor that your friend and mentor inspired and instilled in everyone around him. Character assassination is a seemingly impossible quagmire to overcome, but just know that we – your fans – still believe in you, and continue to be humbled by your handling of an unthinkable situation.

  13. I as a fan of the Muppets thank you for trying to fight for the characters integrity. I had some of those same complaints about that show, but I never blamed you or the other performers. I blamed Disney, the writers, the producers, the directors etc.

  14. How can anyone blame you for Kermit being depressed and such? You can only perform what is written for you!

  15. The Muppet Christmas Carol

    Scrooge

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jzsKJvWiEI

    This is all so sad and messy, I’ve just watched the first six Muppet Movies, how inspirations, what a great message The Muppets bring to the world. I’m now going to watch It’s A Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie. Then i’ll watch the two new ones, with all this happening at least watching The Muppets makes me relax, I suggest you do the same, this must all be very stressful for you and that is not healthy.

    Take Care

  16. Through out the history of this blog Steve has been very respectful to the other people involved. The fans are passionate about this issue, and rightfully so.

    Personally I feel Kermit has been poorly written for the past two movies, and the short lived show. The Henson’s are blaming Steve for these changes, but in all honesty it’s not his falt. He can only do so much with the scripts he has been givin.
    Before Disney bought the Muppets they had sevral great writers working with them. One in particular is Jim Lewis, who had a wonderfulway of writing for the Muppets especially Kermit. If Disney would just let the right people do there jobs things would be better and Steve would not have to have challenged anything.

  17. Dear Mr. Steve,
    I dearly hope everyone comes to their senses and invites you back to the Muppets. If not, I still appreciate all you have to say here, because first off, you have a right to express yourself! If cruel people are allowed to post on the internet everyday, a gentleman such as you SURELY should speak their mind, so please don’t listen to anyone who says otherwise! Your insight is illuminating, and your story about Mr. Henson during Muppets 3-D are so very appreciated (as is your openhearted thoughts and feelings about that memory, as well as how it connects to the present day)!

    All of your posts are so very respectful, and thoughtful, and you are clearly taking the high road. I wish everyone put as much thought into their words as you do…sadly, they don’t, which creates a lot of bad vibes and general waste.

    Thank you for the many wonderful performances through the years – not just the regular scenes, but also the singing, whether on CD or in TV specials and films. I’ve loved Bean Bunny ever since I first saw Tale of the Bunny Picnic…and of course there’s Wembley! You were fantastic in the Fraggle episode “Gone, But Not Forgotten” – when Wembley is sad about Mudwell, it’s just so moving!

    There is such a meaningful feeling behind the best moments from the entire world of Mr. Henson’s worlds, and it is clear from your words on this blog that you have continued to carry that spirit with you, and I thank you. Please never let go of that spirit. We’re with you!

  18. Agreed, judge no one. I don’t even want to share this on Twitter, because I feel sad for the situation. Kermit’s at stake here, and the personality YOU brought to him, Steve.

  19. Hi Steve, while I was growing up both you and Jim were my Kermit. Nothing was wrong with your performance as Kermit or any of the other characters you’ve performed over the years. When Cheryl Henson was criticizing your performance as Kermit over the years, I was wondering if she ever actually watched you perform Kermit…. Good luck to you on your future endeavors. You should do a Master Class on puppetry for the movie and television industry, one day.

  20. I was only six when Jim died, and I remember watching ‘The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson’. I never thought , ‘oh, this is someone else performing Kermit’, for me this was the same Kermit that I knew from the films (I was a little young for the TV show. I was more into Fraggle Rock, DC and the Storyteller). Then in my teens I re-engaged with the Muppets and still thought of Kermit as I remembered from the 80s. What Steve had done was one hell of a task, but he excelled in performing him as we remember and how Jim had envisioned him. Whatever the reason the Henson family members had for speaking out publicly, although unprofessional (via Facebook), was to reassure the audience that the Muppets were to continue. But what gets me a little angry is their defence of Disney as the ‘good guys’, if they don’t do some damage control this could have a long term effect on the muppets and the Henson brand. I haven’t (and refused) to watch the Muppets post-2004. For me Disney do not represent the ethics which Jim Henson had. No matter how hard the puppeteers performed (and they do), Disney are more about money than creating something of artistic value. Even now, the Dark Crystal is still my favourite film. The first film that led me on the road as a cinefile. What I love about the film is I see something new every time (mostly in philosophical terms). Jim Henson and his team broke boundaries and thankfully we have wonderful performers like Steve who have continued the legacy. I only hope the decision made on the Muppets is not the beginning of the end.

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