75 thoughts on ““Semantics” IMAGE REPOST (fingers crossed)

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

    I love that Jane acknowledges that Kermit (and Steve) will need time but that he will get his whole personality back bit by bit.

      1. Jim didn’t ask Steve personally, but more than one person has recounted Jim throwing Steve’s name out there for people who may be able to handle Kermit if and when Jim became too busy with Disney stuff, Jane Henson and Frank Oz included.

      2. Listen here “anonymous” Steve was anointed by the sweat of Jim Henson himself.

        No one, not his friends or even his own family knew Jim better than Steve.

        NO ONE!!!

        That’s what this whole blog is about.

        The infallible Steve Whitmire.

        Anyone claiming otherwise is just plain wrong. Look around this blog and you’ll see.

        Steve *IS* the Muppets.

          1. I represent the majority of the feelings expressed on this blog… with a touch of hyperbole.

            That said, someone has an accusation, Steve or one of his cronies says the opposite and then there is no debate.

      3. Hello Mr or Miss Anonymous, As a part of the newly created Whitmiere Mafia I want to make you an offer you can not refuse!

        If you can produce facts, That Mr Henson did not have even an after thought of Mr. Whitmiere as the frog. Then me and my crew will leave you alone. However, if there is no such proof I suggest you keep these feelings to yourself. Or my crew and I will make things challenging for you in the future.

        1. Mafia, eh?

          Has Steve ever told you about his mafia style dinners he’s had with Up and coming puppeteers?

          I’d love to hear his thoughts on that rumor!

          If anything, this blog is proving many rumors true.

    1. As Steve said, his “immediate goal for this blog is to leave anyone interested in the Muppets at any level, past, present, or future, with the deepest possible understanding of my discoveries in taking the intangibles of Jim’s unique methodologies and giving them a basis in fact.”
      As a fan i`m already satisfied with all the answers Steve provided us during his interviews, and here on his blog, concerning the controversial questions around his dismissal.
      At this point, i don`t need more to know or understand. Steve explained enough and i believe him.
      So it`s time to stop fighting each others, and look into the future having faith in the possibilities of Steve bringing Kermit & Rizzo again to life, or at least having a determinant role in the future of the Muppets ensuring their integrity.
      My action is with the “owners” of the Muppets and that`s before them that i will stand.
      I would love to have more Steve`s posts related to the Muppets and to his work with them during his long career since his started with Jim Henson.

  2. so SW – what do you want to do now?? Muppets now seems to be a dead end reardless of who is right or wrong in the recent recast decision. Retirement? other projects? Producing/Directing (a la Oz)??

  3. It’s ironic how Cheryl is upset at Steve because “Steve performed Kermit as a bitter, angry, depressed victim”, but Disney fired Steve because he was complaining that they were making him perform Kermit as a bitter, angry, depressed victim.

    Perhaps her anger is misdirected.

  4. I am hoping that each side can step back, take a breath, and let the dust settle. I understand Disney/Henson issuing a press release. I sympathize with Steve defending himself in a blog. However, the tit-for-tat is putting both sides in a bad light.

    1. I disagree. There’s no tit-for-tat when it’s facts being presented.
      Fans and friends what to know and Steve has earned his voice on this after almost 40 years of Muppets.
      He is not lying, defaming, belittling or being disrespectful to anyone.
      This is his Blog. It may not be for everyone and that’s fine. But almost everyone are enjoying his stories and perspective and appreciating the opportunity to offer support.
      Nothing wrong with that whatsoever. It should continue for as long as Steve feels is necessary.

      1. Are you THE Mike Quinn, puppeteer from Tale Of The Bunny Picnic (amongst others) and the Star Wars films?

      2. I agree with you Mike. I also feel that everything Steve says here has been respectful (even in areas where he has every right to be angry). If anything I have even more respect for Steve in how he is handling this.

  5. With respect and love…

    Maybe it’s time to slow down with firing canon balls across each other’ bows. We know there’s two sides to every story.

    But most of all we love Kermit. And he’s bigger than all of this.

    And we love the muppets.

    And we love jim and his legacy.

    And we love you. And your legacy.

    Your story would be amazing and we’d love to hear it. Especially about your love for jim and how he impacted your life.

    But I kind of wish I didn’t know any of this other stuff, from either side.

    The muppets are something magical to me, and I don’t want that magic to disappear or be tainted. I’m at the point where I can’t follow this story any more, people know of my love for the muppets and I’m constantly being asked for my thoughts, and everything I’m hearing is diminishing for all sides in my eyes.

    I wish you the best in wherever your journey takes you next. You have a lot of people who love you and what you’ve done. Don’t let this overshadow that.

    Onwards!

    1. “Maybe it’s time to slow down with firing canon balls across each other’ bows. We know there’s two sides to every story.”

      Brad, with respect, I understand your feelings. However, I think Steve was wrongfully dismissed and should absolutely continue to defend himself here on his blog, and in MSM interviews.

  6. Just some more thoughts on my end…

    Brian Henson told The Hollywood Reporter that he had been having problems with Steve’s supposed “brinkmanship” since the mid-1990’s and that he should have recast him a long time ago (Source: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/amp/news/jim-hensons-son-explains-why-kermit-actor-was-replaced-character-could-use-change-1022041).

    So one has to wonder: why didn’t he? To which, my brain supplies that maybe he couldn’t because there was someone who was standing in the way and who would have stood staunchly behind Steve Whitmire and Jim’s decision. That person, of course, was Jane Henson. So when she passed away in April 2013, it was only a matter of time.

    I don’t know. I could be totally off the mark. Then again, I could be closer to the bulls-eye than I know.

    1. Just an opinion, but is it possible that it’s sour grapes on Brian Henson’s part… that he felt, as Jim’s son, he should have inherited the role of Kermit by right?

      1. I don’t have any degrees in psychology or anything, but I think you may be on to something there. I wonder if Brian felt threatened by Steve in one way or another. When Steve offered opinions about Kermit, and the Muppets in general, maybe Brian thought Steve was trying to undermine his (Brian’s) authority. I can imagine how that could translate, in Brian’s mind, to Steve trying to use his status as Kermit’s performer in order to play hardball, especially if Brian was already feeling insecure in his sudden position of being head of the company.

        Whatever the case, it definitely seems like Brian is taking this whole thing very personally. In that Hollywood Reporter interview, notice how the very first thing he says is that he doesn’t want talk about the reasons why Steve was fired, and then proceeds to give a lengthy interview about the reasons why Steve was fired. Either Brian doesn’t know that you’re allowed to not respond when reporters ask you questions, or else he really DOES want to talk about it.

    2. Thanks for posting that link. I hadn’t seen that article and, as painful as it is to read, it’s helpful to know what the other side is saying.

      Refuting every inconsistency and disingenuous statement in that article would be beyond the scope of a simple comment on somebody else’s blog, but I do have to take issue with the fact that the Hollywood Reporter called Brian “the person best suited to actually address the matter [of what Jim would have wanted].” Just because he’s Jim’s son doesn’t mean that he and Jim would necessarily agree on everything all the time.

      Can anyone say that they always agree with their father? I know I sure can’t. I love my father and respect his point of view, but I would never say with authority that I know what he would think and what he would want and what he would say or do in every situation. I may have a pretty good idea of those things, but no human being can ever really know what’s in the heart and mind of another, no matter how closely related they may be.

      I’m not entirely without sympathy for Brian because I know that he was forced into making those decisions about what Jim would want under the worst possible circumstances and at a relatively young age; that authority was thrust upon him. Nevertheless, his behavior in this matter has been deplorable, and he should be called out on it; he shouldn’t be held to a different standard just because he is Jim’s son.

      1. I totally agree that no one can know EVERYTHING that someone else is thinking, but that’s not what this article stated. It said that he was best suited. So I ask, who is better suited?

        I also don’t understand what was so deplorable about Brian’s statements. He didn’t speak out until Steve had already opened up the flood gates. If he felt that Steve was misrepresenting the truth, and manipulating fans of The Muppets, it seems fair to me for him to share the other side of the story. Even Mike Quinn commented that there’s nothing wrong with sharing information about the situation if facts are being presented.

        So I ask, do you think that Brian is telling lies? And if so, what specifically do you think that he’s inventing? Or do you think that Steve just shouldn’t have ever been fired, regardless of his behavior, and it was wrong for Brian to offer behind the scenes details? I am asking this sincerely. I know I that it can be hard to tell sometimes!

        1. Here’s what I think, sincerely.

          The most “deplorable” thing, to me, about Brian’s statements is not what he said, but the fact that he said it in public. In a legal and moral sense, this thing is between Disney and Steve, and publicly it should have stayed that way. Disney can (and did) speak for themselves. Even if everything Brian believes is absolutely true and reasonable, I don’t see how any harm could have come to him by keeping quiet, and addressing those concerns with Steve privately if he felt necessary. The fact that he and his sisters spoke out shows that they were willing to heap fuel on the fire instead of graciously keeping out of it, hard as that might have been for them. The moral high ground was always available, but they opted not to take it.

          That said, on re-reading that linked article just now… From the very beginning of this I have tried to understand everybody’s statements on the basis that they contain as much truth as possible. And in doing that I’ve found that many apparent ‘inconsistencies’ or even outright contradictions between different parties’ stories can be reconciled by considering them as different points of view, coupled with some misunderstandings and poor communication on all sides. So I don’t see very much disagreement actually between Brian’s and Steve’s accounts of the facts. What Brian/Disney calls brinkmanship and unacceptable conduct, Steve sees as a completely unavoidable and necessary part of doing his job to protect and maintain the Muppets’ integrity. They differ on their description of the tone of Steve’s communications; here we see a severe lack of perception on both sides regarding how the opposite party intended/received what was said.

          One of the most concerning things Brian said, in my mind, was that Jim would have recast Kermit by now if he was still alive. And that he should have done it in 2004. I’m not sure there is any precedent for Jim recasting a major character while the puppeteer remained available. My gut feel is with Steve on this one. But what would I know? And Jim predeceased them all; so in the end nobody can be 100% sure… Otherwise there wouldn’t be this sharp disagreement between two of the people who knew him best.

          The Kermit character criticisms also seem unjust to me. Not nearly enough reasonable blame is being given to the writers for that.

          So much for Brian. As to “do you think that Steve just shouldn’t ever have been fired, regardless of his behavior”: Disney say they didn’t take this decision lightly, and on balance I believe them. But I think that after they committed to the decision, they made a fatal mistake. Steve says that on trying to negotiate his position back, he offered to promise to shut up completely and sign it in writing. This absolutely should have been taken up, because I think it was the one golden chance at redeeming everything. My impression – and here I want to remind myself that we shouldn’t be talking about Steve like he isn’t in the room; hi Steve, sorry if I’m about to get all this wrong, please correct me if I do – is that October might have been the first time Steve fully realised just how problematic his behaviour was being viewed by Disney. After however long it was of everybody not being on the same page, it was finally clear… and too late. Disney could have demonstrated once more how deeply they value the characters and their continuity, by giving Steve one more chance *after* that point was reached. And they didn’t – for some reason they were committed irreversibly to their course, one conversation too soon I suspect. What a damn tragedy. I’m convinced there are some at Disney who truly care for the Muppets, but if only they had cared just a tiny bit more, enough to see the value in trying one more time to make this work… who knows.

          Like d.w.mckim keeps saying… communication. Crux of so many problems.

        2. I plan to do a whole post about this on my blog someday (hopefully soon), but I will try to answer your questions.

          As to who is the best suited to decide what Jim would have wanted, ideally all of the people who knew Jim and worked with him would get together and make that decision based on the things that he actually said and did. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen now. But as an aside, if you look back at that Hollywood Reporter article now, they’ve since edited out the line about Brian being the person “best suited” to determine what Jim would have wanted. I obviously don’t know the reason behind that, but it looks suspiciously Orwellian to me.

          I think that the Hensons weighing in on the matter at all was unprofessional, period. They don’t own the Muppets anymore, so they no longer get a say as to who performs what. I actually ran across an interesting quotation from Walt Disney himself: “We are not influenced by the techniques or fashions of any other company.” From that, one can extrapolate that Walt himself may well have frowned upon the Disney Company namechecking the Hensons in their statement to bolster their own (sadly lacking) credibility.

          Once Disney did namecheck the Hensons, however, it was inevitable that reporters would start asking them questions. But, in my opinion, it was inappropriate and unprofessional for any of the Hensons to weigh in at all, even if they had been asked. They should have just said something to the effect of, “Since we no longer own the Muppets, we are no longer involved in personnel decisions.” End of comment. Instead, they leapt at the opportunity to drag Steve’s name through the mud. Even if the things they were saying about Steve were true–which, of course, I do not believe at all–they should have been the bigger people and taken the high road and forgiven him, per their dad’s final instructions to them in his last letter.

          You say that Brian didn’t speak out until Steve “had opened the floodgates,” but Steve never said anything about the Hensons one way or the other. Disney is the one who brought up the Hensons, and even after the Hensons started attacking Steve, he refused to defend himself against them. Steve has only ever said anything negative about Disney, and it is not the Hensons’ responsibility to defend Disney; that’s why Disney has that large phalanx of lawyers on retainer.

          As for whether I believe that Brian Henson is lying…that’s a trickier question to answer. The word “lying” implies a deliberate intention to deceive, to say things that one knows not to be true. I think it’s at least possible that Brian genuinely believes the things that he was saying. I’ve been in situations in the past where innocent things that I’ve said have been misrepresented to others as scathing insults, and yet, I believe that it’s possible that the people doing the misrepresenting genuinely remembered my remarks that way. So I imagine–and this is pure conjecture on my part–that it is at least possible that Steve offered what he believed to be suggestions and constructive criticism on the things that Kermit and the Muppets were doing, and that Brian interpreted those comments, in his own mind, as Steve saying, “I am now Kermit and if you want the Muppets, you better make me happy…” etc.

          But if Brian genuinely believed that he had the grounds to badmouth Steve, he should have been prepared to provide specific examples. Here’s a direct quotation from that Hollywood Reporter interview: “Henson said Whitmire made ‘outrageous demands and often played brinkmanship,’ which he was warned as far back as the mid-1990s needed to stop. Henson declined to go into specifics about Whitmire’s exact demands” (my emphasis). It’s a fundamental rule in law, philosophy, and debate: he who asserts must prove. If Brian is unable or unwilling to provide specific examples of Steve’s supposed “outrageous demands,” it undermines his entire thesis about Steve being demanding and hard to work with, etc.

  7. I feel as though the community of puppeteers, Matt Vogel included, should honour Jim Henson’s wishes and all flatly refuse to replace Steve as Kermit’s Muppeteer.

    ‘You want me to take over the role of Kermit? …Did Steve die and someone not tell me?’

    ‘No, no. He’s alive, but we felt the need to let him go. We want YOU to take over.’

    ‘Uhhh… Well, flattered, but no. Steve Whitmire was chosen for the task, and Jim knew what he was doing. He was an excellent judge of character. I stand behind Jim’s choice.’

    Imagine if every puppeteer reacted the same way in a show of solidarity and didn’t allow their footing to shift!

    1. Yes, it would be the right thing – the JIM Henson thing – to do, but as we’ve read elsewhere in this blog, Disney would then just sack Voice 2 and replace them with 3 or 4 or 5, irrespective of whether they’re any good. Then we’d be left with – as seen on Family Guy – “wrong-sounding Muppets”!

    2. In theory, I would have liked to have seen that too. But in practice, we have to remember that, for them, pupeteering is a job. They have mortgages and utility bills and financial obligations just like the rest of us. Even if the cause be just, it’s a very serious and difficult thing to risk one’s livelihood, with potential far-reaching negative consequences.

      Moreover, in that scenario, what’s to stop Disney from just firing the lot of them and hiring all new performers? Based on what they told Jim about “Mickey-1 and Mickey-2,” it would be consistent with the way they do business. And then the puppeteers’ sacrifice would have been all for nothing.

      I don’t hold anything against the other Muppet performers. They’re not the problem here. This situation has put them in a terrible position wherein they are potentially damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

      1. dude, seriously, reach out to Dave Rubin of the RubinReport – sure, he’s wrapped into other politics at the moment.. but he does occasionally veer outside of that and to be honest, there are similarities between your story and several others he’s interviewed. And some of the politics being presented by the Hensons against you or more specifically your performance of Kermit seem like politics heavy, coded language, desperate reaching… in being upset that Kermit has become an all-American Nice guy (what’s wrong with Kermit being an all-American guy?), scoff at the idea that Kermit would apologize to his nephew (Or something well outside of Kermit’s *character* for sheer shock value or flippant & edgy trends that would hurt the brand in the long run) or that you would side with sag aftra & wouldn’t surrender the role to understudies to violate it in your place.

  8. I believe if people think Kermit was portrayed as a Bitter, Angry, DepressedVictim in the ABC series, that was most likely the Writers’ fault, not the performers. That’s just my opinion.

    1. Absolutely. I’d even argue that the writing has been on a downward trajectory ever since Jerry Juhl died. I think of the “Letters to Santa” special from a couple of years ago that was crude and uncomfortable to watch (wasn’t that the one with the human side character that kept saying “Innuendo” all the time??)…to the recent “Wizard of Oz” incarnation that I didn’t watch b/c I felt that by this point the Muppets had lost so much of the magic that made them The Muppets. I thought Jason Segel’s Muppet movie was getting much closer to the essence of the characters, but then they had to muck it up with that awful CGI scene…but regardless, PERHAPS this would be enough to get them back to their true selves. Enter the ABC show where the characters were all “off” somehow, and it had nothing to do with the voices. It’s got everything to do with the writers – who either don’t understand the essence of the characters, or are trying to “modernize” them for current audiences and the lowest common denominator. Or both. You can’t polish a turd, and the turd starts with the creative direction and the writing – none of which is the fault of the performers, who I’m guessing have had much less involvement in the creative process than in the glory days.

      1. Re: “Letters to Santa.” That’s IT’S A VERY MERRY MUPPET CHRISTMAS MOVIE you’re thinking of. Both it and Oz were rewritten by ‘outside’ writers, if I recall.

          1. “Letters to Santa” is actually one of my very Favorite Muppet Christmas productions!

            That along with “Muppet Family Christmas”, “The Muppet Christmas Carol” and “Emmett Otter’s Jugband Christmas”.

  9. It is a pity that an iconic ‘brand’ has been brought to a stand still over good old fashioned office politics. As a life long Muppets fan I just want to say on film and on screen, Kermit’s attitude and demeanour is only as bitter and depressed as his dialogue dictates. And I would say that up until the recent ABC series, he has had his ups and downs. Finding writers to keep the essence consistent seems to have proved difficult. But when you look at personal appearances when Kermit is winging it (Steve) or talking about other things he is as Kermit like as he ever was. Check out his appearance on studio q and the fantastic TEDx talk both of which are on youtube.
    Like many around the world I was devastated to watch the news and find out Jim Henson had died. But was happy to know his friends and family were committed to keeping Jim’s Muppets alive. I was surprised by the tone of the recent series where Kermit came off as a cheating jerk and Scooter was just creepy

      1. Probably because of Kermit’s bizarre, new found obsession with spiritual snake oil salesman, Dr. Ken Wilber. Not sure how Disney let the use of the character on that one pass.

  10. Steve everything you’ve written so far is amazing, you’re so talented, i’m not sure if you remember me but we met once a few years ago. I’m sure Cherly Henson’s post came from a moment of frustration and if that is her opinion I respect it because I respect the Henson’s very much for creating The Muppets, Fraggle Rock etc… but I do not agree. I’ve been very inspired by The Muppets my whole life, I was only three years old when Jim Henson died so I grew up with your Kermit and in the beginning I found him very inspirational and true to the spirit of Kermit the Frog.

    P.S you do a great impression, never doubt the performance you provided for so many years.

    I hope the following clip shows how could of a Kermit you can be when given the right opportunities.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tw4ZL6YByrk

    Your Fan Nicholas

  11. Life long fan since TMS here, but it was especially your Wembley character I connected most with. And Rizzo is such a unique fun character. Im grateful someone in the comments above posted your Ted Talk as Kermit as to me it’s a remarkable testament to how puppetry can transcend the craft. It’s heartbreaking to see not just your name being dragged through the mud, but insinuations that you’ve somehow have tarnished and been anathema to Jim’s legacy and Kermit. Your recent video interview on Inside Edition made me tear up, and as someone who sees you as the true Kermit and core of the Muppets I could really see your pain. Its curious how you’ve been both accused of bringing a dark destructive and depressing angry tone to your performance….yet at the same time you made Kermit too ‘square’ and family friendly instead of edgy for the times. It’s lile Shroedinger’s frog! 🙂 Also funny how the brass has no issue with Colbert’s nightly use of an authentic Kermit puppet in terrible sketches. Perhaps maybe you should male your own ‘real Kermit’ skits on youtube;) Anyways, it’s clear the majority of fans are with you and are sending love and support.

  12. I’m not sure I understand Cheryl.
    The Kermit from the Muppet show was very much a stressed leader of the Muppets. Not always kind (often even harsh towards Miss Piggy, making jokes about her and downright denying his love for her) and often frustrated. A perfect example is the Fozzie Bear Monologue ft. Kermit that is on several Muppet CD’s / LP’s. Kermit and Fozzie screaming at the top of their lungs against each other. Seriously, probably my favorite Jim / Frank moment of all time, it’s hilariously funny…. But it’s not the ‘good-hearted, compassionate leader’ Cheryl describes. THAT Kermit reminds me more of the Kermit from Muppets Take Manhattan.
    But even more of the Bob Cratchit Kermit from Muppet Christmas Carol. The Captain Smollett from Muppet Treasure Island.
    I haven’t seen the recent Muppet TV series. I can’t comment on that. I fully agree with Cheryl that Kermit should never be bitter or depressed. But angry? Oh yes.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66c35bmlMOs
    A victim? Well, I can’t think of a particular clip, but I do believe he’s been trampled on the Muppet show, ninja chopped pretty often, and has been often exasperated when his attempts at running a proper show failed once again. So yes, a victim too, I suppose.

    I think several parties here had the best interests of Kermit the Frog at heart, unfortunately, all disagreed upon what those best interests actually were.
    I don’t know the full story, so I won’t judge either the Hensons, the Disney Co (whom I have great love for, but who have also frustrated me to no end on several occasions in the past) or Steve in any way.
    I just know what I said somewhere else on the site already, that Steve originated the Kermit that first made a real impression on me, and through his performance, I have come to love the Muppets in general a great deal.

    I was only just listening to the soundtrack for The Muppet Movie.
    “Life’s like a movie, write your own ending. Keep believing, keep pretending”.
    Steve, I love your stories on the website here, but hope above all that you will find ways to employ your creativity in ways that suit you.

  13. Being born in 1976 some of my earliest childhood memories were of watching the Muppet Show and Sesame Street in the late 70’s and early 80’s. I can only imagine what it would be like to have your life’s work taken from you at your age. You might take a look at Tony Robbins’s work. He’s excellent at helping people move past traumatic life events.

  14. Here’s what I think, When they did the ABC Muppet series they wanted to show what the Muppets were like in real life when the cameras are off. So I feel like that kinda made them stay out of character. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not putting down the ABC series because I loved that show. I’m such a huge Muppet fan that I’m just always happy to see the Muppets doing new things!

  15. It’s odd that your having problems with sizing your images. I know you said you have a huge learning curve, but I can’t help but wonder what system your using for your blog. I just use WordPress for mine and it is super-easy for someone like me who is quite inept with computers most of the time.

    I’m glad you want the pressure to be taken off Cheryl. In fact, you’ve been quite fair by not name-dropping or publicly shaming any particular person like the Henson’s have to you. Well done for being the bigger person.

    Keep it up!

    While I’m here, I beg of you, tell us about how on earth you became a back-up singer on The Fantastic Miss Piggy Show! Without a doubt the most fabulous cameo a Muppet Performer ever made!

  16. I hear a grief and sadness and pain. I hate that this has happened. Remember the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally, acceptance. They don’t necessarily go in order and you can jump back and forth, but know, Steve, you are admired, appreciated, marveled and most of all, loved. You have brought joy to so many as Steve, not only as Kermit. That’s who I care most about.

  17. Nothing new here. The Disney studio puts the brand before people – always has. The strike in 1941 proved what company was – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disney_animators%27_strike – and the Eisner Era confirmed this. Steve, go develop new voices and characters. I for one would love to write for you, and have you come and speak with my group of Software Developers on “Creativity”. The pushback for “good creativity” is in every industry, and your trek through the Jungle of Mediocrity to the Lost City of Creativity makes you a guide for all of us on that journey.

  18. Nothing new here. The Disney studio puts the brand before people – always has. The strike in 1941 proved what company was – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disney_animators%27_strike – and the Eisner Era confirmed this. Steve, go develop new voices and characters. I for one would love to write for you, and have you come and speak with my group of Software Developers on “Creativity”. The pushback for “good creativity” is in every industry, and your trek through the Jungle of Mediocrity to the Lost City of Creativity makes you a guide for all of us on that journey. -JV

  19. Just wanted to stop by and let you know that we are still with you , Steve. Got my fingers crossed for you.

  20. Steve, I would just like to say regardless of what the Henson’s, or Disney is saying I still support you 100%. I have more memories of you as Kermit then Jim however I always felt Jim’s spirit within you whenever you performed. You will always be Kermit to me. You’ve made me laugh, and cry. I am still in disbelief that you won’t be with Kermit anymore. By the way I sent you a birthday card years ago to the Disney studios but I’m pretty sure it never got to you. I still hope to meet you someday to take a photo with and get your autograph. 😊 🐸

  21. Steve, what puzzles me is the constant excuse of your Kermit being sad or negative. I’m only guessing you had writers for things like “THE MUPPETS” both film and “MUPPETS MOST WANTED” and the TV series “THE MUPPETS.” I don’t mean to be flippant but the very complaints seem to be what you were fighting for in the first place. I appreciate you taking the high road and I know it’s painful. My heart is with you at this time. I hope there is a positive and public resolution to all this.

  22. dude, seriously, reach out to Dave Rubin of the @RubinReport – sure, he’s wrapped into other politics at the moment.. but he does occasionally veer outside of that and to be honest, there are similarities between your story and several others he’s interviewed. And some of the politics being presented by the Hensons against you or more specifically your performance of Kermit seem like politics heavy, coded language, desperate reaching… in being upset that Kermit has become an all-American Nice guy (what’s wrong with Kermit being an all-American guy?), scoff at the idea that Kermit would apologize to his nephew (Or something well outside of Kermit’s *character* for sheer shock value or flippant & edgy trends that would hurt the brand in the long run) or that you would side with sag aftra & wouldn’t surrender the role to understudies to violate it in your place.

  23. dude, seriously, reach out to Dave Rubin of the RubinReport – sure, he’s wrapped into other politics at the moment.. but he does occasionally veer outside of that and to be honest, there are similarities between your story and several others he’s interviewed. And some of the politics being presented by the Hensons against you or more specifically your performance of Kermit seem like politics heavy, coded language, desperate reaching… in being upset that Kermit has become an all-American Nice guy (what’s wrong with Kermit being an all-American guy?), scoff at the idea that Kermit would apologize to his nephew (Or something well outside of Kermit’s *character* for sheer shock value or flippant & edgy trends that would hurt the brand in the long run) or that you would side with sag aftra & wouldn’t surrender the role to understudies to violate it in your place.

  24. Hi Steve,

    It’s negative opinion time, and I risk everyone hating me for it, but I just want to get some thoughts off my chest. I was talking to my family about this whole mess, because of what is being said by Disney and the Hensons. I was trying to tell myself there is nothing wrong with still liking a person and his/her work if it turns out that the negative things people are saying are true. Now, I don’t know that everything being said is true or false, or just major exaggerations. My father said there are two sides to every story, and each side is going to do their best to make themselves look good, and the other side look bad. In all honesty, there are probably things that both you, and the Disney execs are at fault for in this regard (that’s the opinion that will get me lynched, I’m sure). When I was laid off, I found out that it was partly my own fault, and there were other factors in the company that were involved. It also has a lot to do with point of view. At this point, we will probably never know the truth, and I’m not sure I wish to know the truth (I’m a sufferer of depression, and this has been making me feel depressed all week).

    I apologize for being the downer in this regard, but I’m trying to figure things out from both angles, and the way I see it, it’s not all Disney’s fault, but it’s also not all your fault.

    But I still love your interpretation of Wembley Fraggle.

    Live Long and Paws-Purr
    Erin the Benedict Aardvark

  25. Hi Steve,
    You & Kevin Clash trained me at a Muppet workshop at Disneyworld in 1990, I worked as a background puppeteer on ‘Muppets From Space’ as well. You were always friendly & kind to me, & I’ve never forgotten it. I’m deeply saddened to hear of the recent developments.

    Much love to you & yours, & if there’s anything I can do for ya, feel free to contact me.
    greg.jarnigan@yahoo.com

  26. Regarding Cheryl’s post:

    It’s quite clear from Jane’s interview, that Jim chose Steve to perform Kermit. The person who delivered the news to him is irrelevant.

    Perhaps if the top creative executives on the ABC series had read Steve’s notes and paid heed to them, the show would not have sucked, and Kermit’s personality would never have been compromised in any way.

    When a man – who has been terminated over the phone after performing his mentor’s beloved character for 27 years –reaches out on a personal blog to his fans, it’s hardly, what anyone with an ounce empathy, would consider a ‘pity party’.

    Cheryl’s post is certainly unprofessional business conduct at it’s finest.

    1. Exactly, Mary!

      If a man is explaining his situation to his fans…..then that’s exactly what he is doing. Is Steve seeking attention? Yes, but not for pity or to be seen as the victim. People have every right to speak up when they feel an injustice has been committed against them.

      And Steve, good on you for not taking those worthless ‘consolation prizes’! Far better to walk away from a situation with your beliefs and dignity intact! Why be known as a ‘Disney Legend’ when you can be known as ‘Steve Whitmire: The Man Who Stuck To His Virtue’?

      1. Marni,

        What’s the difference between being a victim and telling people that an injustice has been committed against you? Just curious how you distinguish the two, because they seem the same to me.

        Thanks!

        1. Hi Louise,

          Well, I suppose there isn’t really a difference now that I’m thinking about it again.

          Perhaps my argument should instead focus on the semantics of the term ‘victim’. Victims handle the injustices made against them differently. In Steve’s case, he’s been handling it by coming on here, trying to explain the situation as he see’s it.

          Steve hasn’t been drawing attention to himself to whine and moan, ‘Oh woe is me, my life is so hard, please pity me!’ Instead, he’s been laying everything down that he can and leaves it to us to make our own interpretations.

          That’s just how I see things anyway. Everyone comes to their own conclusions.

          1. Thanks for explaining, Marnie. I guess I’m just confused why so many people seem to think that it’s ok for Steve to lay everything out, but wrong for “the other side” to do the same. Especially since Steve was the one who made the discussion public in the first place. Shouldn’t both sides be treated the same?

          2. Hi Louise- more in my longer response further up. Both “sides” certainly should be treated the same. But in this particular matter, the Hensons are not one of the sides. If Disney wants to present a case, they can – and should present it under their own banner.

  27. Hey Steve,

    We saw you on the Today Show today.

    I was just wondering, are you going to be at the Museum of the Moving Image this weekend for the new Jim Henson Exhibit?

  28. Kermit not being funny or fun was because……the writing sucked. The Muppets tv series was NOT the best, despite a few funny moments, and I honestly believe that if Jim Henson were alive today, he’d do a Muppet reality television series……only it would be funny.

    So, who was it that told the press years ago that you were Jim’s choice for taking over Kermit? Because that’s what I remember reading, and you were the perfect choice.

    Back to the writing, and Steve, please correct me if there’s a few more, but the only write who I think fully understood The Muppets better than the performers, was the late Jerry Juhl. Stories after his passing haven’t been the same.

  29. Your GMA interview on the 20th was good. You looked calm, confident, and you fielded their questions well.
    We’re proud of you, Steve, and your integrity through out this storm. Still praying for you.

  30. Bring Steve Whitmire back ! I always knew and many other Muppets fans around the world, that Jim Henson and his wife choose Steve as the next Kermit`s puppeteer. I`ve always knew Kermit by Jim Henson and by Steve Whitmire. Steve didn´t change in the last years. He was always great and delivered powerful Kermit performances. But scripts did change in this last few years. And that`s not Steve`s fault. They change because of the new Muppets ownership. Disney needs to learn a bit more from the “old” but great and unforgettable Muppets shows and give back the Jim Henson genius to all Muppets fans around the world. Can`t conceive Kermit without Steve Whitmire.

  31. Just reading the paragraph in the Jim Henson biography by Brian Jay Jones during the Disney/Henson meeting:

    “By the end of April, then, Jim was determined to get the Disney deal done. There was still the major issue of the status of the Muppet performers to resolve – the question was whether Disney would buy out any performers it didn’t put on its own payroll – but Jim was getting tired of the haggling”

    Does make you wonder whether this was the intention all along.

  32. Have you seen the videos of Psychology Professor and Psychologist Jordan Peterson who talks about the Pinocchio story? I see a whole new beginning here for you.

  33. To be brutally honest, I lost a lot of respect for the Henson kids when they sold the Muppet characters the first chance they had (ker-ching!), bought them back for a lot less (double ker-ching!), then sold them yet again (triple ker-ching!). And with this whole situation, that little remaining respect has gone completely. They gave any right to dictate who does what with the Muppets the moment they cashed those three big fat cheques, so why are their opinions considered so valuable?
    Referring back to my earlier post about sour grapes on Brian Henson’s part :- it’s very clear from reading any of the reference books that Jim Henson felt very close to Steve, both as a mentor and – dare I say – a father-figure, and maybe this caused some jealousy on Brian’s part.

  34. I loved Jerry Juhl’s writing style. I worked as a singer/actor, but subsequently got a BPhil writing degree from Northwestern University and a Masters from the University of Edinburgh. If/when you start your own troupe, I would be honored to be mentored by you as a writer/performer. I’m also from Atlanta.
    I like that you fight for the integrity of the character.

  35. Hi Louise,

    Well, I suppose there isn’t really a difference now that I’m thinking about it again.

    Perhaps my argument should instead focus on the semantics of the term ‘victim’. Victims handle the injustices made against them differently. In Steve’s case, he’s been handling it by coming on here, trying to explain the situation as he see’s it.

    Steve hasn’t been drawing attention to himself to whine and moan, ‘Oh woe is me, my life is so hard, please pity me!’ Instead, he’s been laying everything down that he can and leaves it to us to make our own interpretations.

    That’s just how I see things anyway. Everyone comes to their own conclusions.

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