Cancel Pepe Le Pew and Speedy Gonzales?
The two decades-old “Looney Tunes” characters were in peril recently after a New York Times columnist took issue with them in an op-ed about six nixed Dr. Seuss books.
The essay prompted Latino fans of Speedy to push back on Twitter.
“I loved watching Speedy Gonzales growing up,” wrote one user, @soytaquitobelle. “He always outsmarted the ones trying to catch him or attack him. I’m Mexican. I don’t want him ‘cancelled.’”
Gabriel Iglesias, a Hispanic comedian who will lend voice to Speedy in the new “Space Jam” movie, called out “cancel culture” too.
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“Does this mean they are gonna try to cancel Fluffy too?” he tweeted, using a nickname for himself. “U can’t catch me cancel culture. I’m the fastest mouse in all of Mexico.”
Charles Blow, who penned the Dr. Seuss op-ed, argued that Speedy Gonzales’ on-screen friends “helped popularize the corrosive stereotype of the drunk and lethargic Mexicans.”
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He later tweeted a video of Pepe, a cartoon French skunk who for many was way too touchy-feely with females on screen, forcibly hugging and kissing a cartoon cat as evidence that the character “normalized rape culture.”
But Speedy was the self-styled “fastest mouse in all Mexico” — known for outsmarting and outrunning villains while repeating his Spanish-language mantra: “¡Andale! ¡Andale! ¡Arriba! ¡Arriba!” (“Come on! Come on! Up! Up!”)
“Really? We’re doing this?” wrote voice actor Victor Melin. “The Speedy Gonzales discourse? Let me be clear, Most, if not, a MAJORITY of us Hispanics and Latinos freaking LOVE Speedy. I grew up in a Mexican/Salvadoran household in which we ADORED him and still do. He ain’t offensive. STOP IT!!!”
“I did not like getting called ‘Speedy Gonzalez’ by the all-white coaches and teammates on my Y baseball team, with them adding “ANDA-LAY ANDA-LAY!”,” wrote Moisés Chiullán. “…bc I’m not Mexican, I’m Cuban. I f—— love Speedy Gonzalez.”
Other people also weighed in on the controversy.
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“I think most Latin people love Speedy Gonzalez, which is a pretty good argument that he shouldn’t be ‘canceled,’” wrote director James Gunn. “But Pepe le Pew, to me at least, is offensive because of the way he treats that cat.”