Ker­mit the Frog per­former says fir­ing a ‘com­plete shock’

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - ENTERTAINMENT - BY THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

The long­time per­former of Ker­mit the Frog says Dis­ney’s de­ci­sion to fire him from the role came as “a com­plete shock.’’

Ap­pear­ing on NBC’s “To­day’’ show Thurs­day, Steve Whit­mire also pushed back on claims from the Mup­pets Stu­dio that Whit­mire’s “re­peated un­ac­cept­able busi­ness con­duct’’ over many years was to blame for his dis­missal. Dis­ney owns the Mup­pets Stu­dio.

Whit­mire says he’d been out­spo­ken about keep­ing the Mup­pets char­ac­ters con­sis­tent be­cause “their longevity is com­pletely based on their con­sis­tency . ... Oth­er­wise, it’s not Ker­mit or any of the Mup­pets at all.’’

Whit­mire was in­formed of the de­ci­sion in October.

He says he re­frained from speak­ing out in the hopes that the stu­dio would re­con­sider.

Ker­mit the Frog, left, and pup­peteer Steve Whit­mire at­tend “The Mup­pets” panel on at Comic-Con In­ter­na­tional in San Diego, in this 2015 AP photo. Whit­mire said on NBC’s “To­day” show Thurs­day that his fir­ing as Ker­mit’s per­former came as ”a com­plete shock.”

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