The Muppets Studio did not detail the nature of Whitmire's "repeated unacceptable business conduct", but said it spanned "a period of many years", adding that "he consistently failed to address" his employers' feedback.
After news broke last week that Disney had fired Steve Whitmire, the man who has voiced Kermit the Frog for the past 27 years, The Hollywood Reporter sat down with him for an interview and it's quite clear that bygones are not bygones between Disney and Whitmire.
Whitmire claimed another reason he was let go was because of a union dispute.
"So much hope is gone", he said. He also thinks the show might have been spared cancellation if the studio had listened more closely to the Muppet talent. After Disney picked up the rights to The Muppets franchise in 2004 - which resulted in two feature films from 2011 and 2014, as well as the The Muppet Show reboot on ABC from previous year - Whitmire stayed on as Kermit, even though his influence was apparently not always welcome.More news: Senate to delay vote on Republican healthcare bill
The second issue was framed as "refusing to work on a particular project" some 15 months earlier. "The decision to part ways was a hard one which was made in consultation with the Henson family and has their full support". "Ironically in that situation, my rep had negotiated a special deal with the guild so that we could do the work within the budget parameters for the project". A source close to the studio told THR that Whitmire's communication style was "overly hostile and unproductive".
Matt Vogel will take over as Kermit the Frog.
In case you can't drop whatever you're doing to watch a review of The Muppets pilot episode, in the above video, Arlo notes that the mockumentary formula is a little overdone, that the show lacks zaniness, and that the constant references to drugs and sex feel wholly out of place for a group of optimistic, innocent characters like the Muppets.
"I'm actually responsible for Matt having become a part of the Disney Muppets", Whitmire said. It's completely believable that, after facing the demise of The Muppets, Disney executives spent a few months trying to come up with a plan to revitalize the brand - for whatever reason, that plan seems to involve replacing the actor behind the most famous Muppet of them all. "My sadness is over knowing how important it is for the success of the Muppets to have the characters remain consistent and seeing the value of that ignored".
Whitmire, who referred to Henson as his hero in the blog, apologized to fans. The old Kermit never would have done that, said Whitmire. "I can't take credit for that, but have been truly honored to keep Jim's spirit intact".