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Kermit the Frog was fired, y’all.
Steve Whitmire, the puppeteer behind Kermit who was fired after 27 years, wrote on his blog Thursday that he is “devastated to have failed” Muppets founder and his mentor Jim Henson, the Associated Press reported.
He wrote that was he let go against his will. He was told Kermit would be recast in October, but he didn’t go public with the information, hoping the studio would change its mind.
Although the reasons behind his firing are unknown, Whitmire said he suggested “multiple remedies” to resolve the issues, AP reported.
“For me the Muppets are not just a job, or a career, or even a passion. They are a calling, an urgent, undeniable, impossible to resist way of life,” Whitmire wrote in the blog. “This is my life’s work since I was 19 years old. 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.”
Whitmire joined the Muppets in 1978. He took over as Kermit when Henson died in 1990. For most of today’s kids and young adults, Whitmire is the only voice of Kermit they have ever known.
On Twitter, people expressed their disappointment in the news—and made jokes about the beloved frog icon turned meme.
what the hell, they fired steve whitmire from playing kermit?? what the hell!! he was a great kermit, what the HELL GUYS— SungWon Cho (ProZD) (@prozdkp) July 13, 2017
Disney: The Muppet fans have suffered enough.— Hillary DePiano (@HillaryDePiano) July 10, 2017
Also Disney: Let's recast Kermit. pic.twitter.com/n9aEeRVcYW
Its not easy— JG Scarpati (@JG_Scarpati) July 13, 2017
Being unemployed :^(
Writing to friends and fans on his blog, Whitmire said, “I just want you all to know that I am sorry if I have disappointed any of you at any point throughout our journey, and to let everyone know that I am devastated to have failed in my duty to my hero.”
Kris Seavers is the IRL editor for the Daily Dot. Her work has appeared in Central Texas publications, including Austin Monthly and San Antonio Magazine, and on NPR.