I apologize for neglecting all of you at this site as I try and deal with so much negativity being played out in the press. Let’s talk…
I was given the opportunity by The Hollywood Reporter to respond to Brian Henson’s statements about me. After reading his words this past Tuesday and pulling an all-nighter writing down my responses, I sent this as an official statement instead:
“It’s really difficult to be blamed for the degradation of the Muppets lead character on the one hand, while having been terminated for how I was outspoken against poor creative direction on the other. While I agree with the character issues brought up by the Hensons, I am a contract player who is ultimately bound to perform characters any way the owner of the characters directs me to.
The headlines are now turning this into being between the Hensons and me. With a war of words in the press with the Hensons, Disney executives will never be held accountable for mediocre creative directions that lay at their feet, or for the way I have been treated.
After literally refuting every one of Brian’s allegations on paper throughout the night, I cannot bring myself to send it to the media out of respect for Jim. No matter how carefully I frame it, because I know so much about them, it feels like a counterattack that might do real personal damage. I am tortured by knowing half the public will think no defense means they are right, and half would think I’m being petty if I adequately defend myself. I am intentionally choosing not to do that because it adds fuel to a media fire.
In true Muppet-style I have been blessed by the support of the many people I have worked with over the last 39-years, from celebrities to crew, from all over the planet they have reached out privately expressing their love.”
I was on the record with that statement and wanted to share the intent of my direction with you here.
Both Brian and I had unimaginable life changing responsibilities thrust upon us in 1990. As we both struggled to find our own footing in the face of our mutual loss, we continued to work together for 14-years until the Muppets were sold to Disney in 2004. I have had no business dealings with the Henson Company for the last 13-years and have only seen the family socially at weddings, memorial services, and most recently the November 2015 ribbon cutting at the Jim Henson Museum at The Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta.
I will continue to speak about the issues surrounding my dismissal by Disney, but I cannot in good conscience speak against my mentor’s children. It flies in the face of a great man’s philosophy of watching out for each other and loving and forgiving everybody.
As an aside, if you are in the area go see “The Jim Henson Exhibition” at The Museum of the Moving Image.