Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo went into her Tuesday morning segment on Pepé Le Pew fully expecting a barrel of laughs as her guest, Wall Street Journal writer John Hilsenrath, would surely join her in blasting the decision to retire the cartoon skunk and decrying it as yet another example of “cancel culture” gone mad. Instead, Hilsenrath actually agreed that Pepé Le Pew is pretty creepy, which seemed to catch Bartiromo by surprise.
The segment went south after Bartiromo showed old Looney Tunes clips of Pepé Le Pew relentlessly pursuing his cat love interest and grabbing her in his arms while she’s literally fighting him off. After joking, “Bugs Bunny better watch out — they’re coming for him,” Bartiromo kicked the conversation over to Hilsenrath who very clearly did not want to play this game.
“Maria, I’m watching those videos that you have of this — I always used to think that cartoon was funny — but he is kind of grabbing and groping in ways that are just totally unacceptable today,” Hilsenrath said. “I kind of think norms change over time. And maybe it’s time for Pepé Le Pew to beat it.”
When Bartiromo tried to counter that removing Pepé from the Space Jam sequel and future Looney Tunes projects is cancel culture “going overboard,” Hilsenrath didn’t back down from his position. “I think we can go overboard. But watch that video!” he argued. “He’s grabbing that poor little cat in ways that you could never get away with right now.” The Trump-loving Fox Business host then awkwardly went to a commercial break.
You can watch the Bartiromo segment below: