Kermit speechless: Whitmire out as voice of Kermit the Frog

Steve Whitmire, the long-time Muppeteer who had voiced Kermit the Frog since Jim Henson’s death in 1990, has been released by the Disney Company, Whitmire announced in his blog Thursday. Whitmire is supposedly devastated and believes he let Henson down. Whitmire will be replaced by another Muppets performer, Matt Vogel, who performs the Count, among other characters.

I know there are some who believe Whitmire never was comparable to Henson, but he was Kermit for many people who grew up with him.

What was worse was the brutal way that they told him: “Bye, ho!”

Perhaps a money issue? Devoid of any specific reasons, we can only speculate, of course.

Yeah, fired by a phone call. They could have had the decency to call him into their offices and fire him in person. He had been associated with the Muppets for nearly 40 years.

Could have been. The last TV series was a flop and they could be laying the blame at his feet. Vogel could be making less money and be cheaper to keep on. It’s only speculation, though.

Fired by phone? Friggin heartless.

But that’s corporations. When they need something from you “WE’RE A FAMILY” but when you need some consideration or there’s money to be made, they will publicly crap on anyone/anything and proudly proclaim “WE’RE RUNNING A BUSINESS HERE”.

Yup. I worked for Musicland Corporate HQ back in the early 90’s.

My manager asked us all to work 50 hours a week just to show our loyalty. He was rather unhappy that the first words out of my mouth were “25% more hours, 25% more pay”.

“Where’s your loyalty to this company?”
“Where’s this company’s loyalty to me?”
<long pause>
“Good point.”

The problem with corporate personhood is that corporations have no souls, and are therefore evil.

I thought I heard many years ago that Jim Henson’s son performed as Kermit. Am I thinking of another muppet, or remembering wrong?

Brian Henson? He designed and performed some Muppets and took over as chairman after his father’s death, but he never performed Kermit. He had personally selected Whitmire to take over as Kermit.

There was somethinggoing on in private:

Whitmire is a class act for not dragging the details into the media and trying to resolve the issues in private.

At least he didn’t go out like Elmo.

That’s a big assumption on your part. It may well be issues embarrassing to him.

For example [and I’m totally making this up, this is just an example] he may have a substance abuse problem that makes him a nightmare on set. You just don’t know. It doesn’t sound like a money issue because that wouldn’t be kept private.

Those who are slagging off Disney need to think that (a) it’s unlikely they have an issue with Whitmore’s voice performance, since there have been no complaints and (b) they have nothing to gain and everything to lose by this bad publicity.

There’s something behind this, and to me it makes far more sense that Whitemire has done something to cause the problem.

There’s also all this “so sorry I disappointed/failed my hero” stuff. How is getting fired over salary disappointing Henson? And you did the job almost 30 damn years - I doubt Henson expected a lifetime commitment. Definitely more going on than “Disney is evil”.

My first thought was sexual harassment, but that’s just wild speculation.

Two things.

Don’t say “voiced”, say “performed”. There’s so much more to it than just a voice; it’s inhabiting a character, and full facial and body expressions.

Not Brian, but Jim himself selected Steve Whitmire. By coincidence he had officially told Steve so about a year before he died.

Here’s a better account than Wikipedia. Though it seems this clarified explanation isn’t what I originally read either, which must have been a misinterpretation.

Here’s the original article that was referenced in Wikipedia, too.