Earlier this week, we reported that longtime Kermit The Frog puppeteer Steve Whitmire quit his gig, a notable development both because Whitmire had been playing Kermit for just a few weeks after Jim Henson’s death in 1990 and because we didn’t know why he was leaving. Now, Whitmire has released a statement about the end of his time with The Muppets, and in it he very clearly suggests that he was quietly fired by Disney last year.
You can read his full statement here, and in it he explains how important the Muppets – and Jim Henson – are to him, noting that he “would never consider abandoning Kermit or any of the others” because that would “abandon the mission” that Jim Henson gave it to him. He says executives at The Muppets Studio called him back in October to tell him they were re-founding Kermit, and although he suggested “several remedies,” nothing moved The Muppets.
Interestingly, while Whitmire’s statement answers some of the questions about what happened, there’s even more going on here than we know. He alludes to “two stated issues” that “had never been mentioned” prior to receiving that phone call, but other than saying he’s willing to do whatever he can to resolve those issues, he doesn’t. offers no further details on what they may be. Either way, though, they were enough to convince Disney to fire the guy who voiced Kermit The Frog on the phone.