NY Times Columnist Defends Saying Pepe Le Pew ‘Normalized Rape Culture’ After Right-Wing Backlash

Jennifer Maas
·5-min read

New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow doubled down on his assertion that Pepé Le Pew “normalized rape culture” Saturday following right-wing backlash to an op-ed he wrote earlier this week, which first called out the “Looney Tunes” cartoon skunk’s behavior.

“RW blogs are mad bc I said Pepe Le Pew added to rape culture,” Blow tweeted Saturday. “Let’s see. 1. He grabs/kisses a girl/stranger, repeatedly, w/o consent and against her will. 2. She struggles mightily to get away from him, but he won’t release her 3. He locks a door to prevent her from escaping.”

The columnist added in a threaded tweet: “This helped teach boys that ‘no’ didn’t really mean no, that it was a part of ‘the game,’ the starting line of a power struggle. It taught overcoming a woman’s strenuous, even physical objections, was normal, adorable, funny. They didn’t even give the woman the ability to SPEAK.”

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Blow’s Saturday remarks come following conservative criticism of his Wednesday op-ed titled, “Six Seuss Books Bore a Bias,” in which he broke down other children’s content that he found to be problematic in the wake of the company behind the Dr. Seuss books saying it will no longer publish six of them due to racist and insensitive imagery.

“Some of the first cartoons I can remember included Pepé Le Pew, who normalized rape culture; Speedy Gonzales, whose friends helped popularize the corrosive stereotype of the drunk and lethargic Mexicans; and Mammy Two Shoes, a heavyset Black maid who spoke in a heavy accent,” Blow wrote in his column.

Responses to Blow’s column were mixed, with negative responses from the right prompting his Saturday tweet — which led to more discourse.

Also Read: Jimmy Kimmel Makes Dr. Seuss Titles 'More Inclusive,' Including 'Horton Hears a They' (Video)

One user tweeted: “Pepe le Pew normalized rape? Then why don’t we see people out solving crimes like Scooby Doo? Or driving with their feet like Fred Flintstone? Rape is the rapists fault. Period.”

“Lots of virtue signaling in this thread. It’s a cartoon,” another wrote. “If you felt uncomfortable with this growing up I hope you never watch any other tv programs,movies [sic] or listen to most music especially rap. Lots of uncomfortable topics/visual I just don’t think you’d recover from.”

A third tweeted: “Never underestimate Americans ability to ignore facts that are staring them in the face. Replace these two adorable cartoon characters with your 19 year old daughter and your next door neighbor. Or your daughter and your Governor. How ‘adorable’ does it look then?”

See Blow’s Saturday tweets here.

RW blogs are mad bc I said Pepe Le Pew added to rape culture. Let’s see.
1. He grabs/kisses a girl/stranger, repeatedly, w/o consent and against her will.
2. She struggles mightily to get away from him, but he won’t release her
3. He locks a door to prevent her from escaping. pic.twitter.com/CbLCldLwvR

— Charles M. Blow (@CharlesMBlow) March 6, 2021

This helped teach boys that “no” didn’t really mean no, that it was a part of “the game”, the starting line of a power struggle. It taught overcoming a woman’s strenuous, even physical objections, was normal, adorable, funny. They didn’t even give the woman the ability to SPEAK.

— Charles M. Blow (@CharlesMBlow) March 6, 2021

And more reactions to Blow’s column below.

People are dying, losing homes, hungry and yall worried about a damn Pepe Le Pew pic.twitter.com/DkZaZK6VD8

— DKT (@darleneturner53) March 6, 2021

Pepe le Pew normalized rape? Then why don't we see people out solving crimes like Scooby Doo? Or driving with their feet like Fred Flintstone? Rape is the rapists fault. Period.

— Dr. Strange 🌊🌊🌊🌈🇺🇲 (@ReneHauser1) March 6, 2021

1-Pepe is an animated skunk (hint).
2-He never rapes the cat.
3-It’s an exaggeration of love at 1st sight.
4-Part of the humor is how the cat is going to get the white stripe to make her a female skunk-Pepe le Pew only falls for his own species.
5-Get a life.Turn off the TV.

— Siri Sans Souci (@siristone) March 6, 2021

Who had “Pepe Le Pew getting canceled for being a rapist” on their 2021 Bingo card? pic.twitter.com/apggrcANiZ

— NUFF (@nuffsaidny) March 6, 2021

Forget Pepe Le Pew. Someone please explain Bluto from Popeye.

Bluto: "Come here Olive Oil, give Bluto a kiss."

Olive Oil: "Oh no, Bluto!"

Bluto: "Fine! I'm gonna saw you in half!" pic.twitter.com/NKVynA1DNo

— Senator Lars McMurtry (@larsmcmurtry) March 6, 2021

First they came for Potato Head and I said nothing. Then they came for Dr. Seuss and I said nothing. Now Pepe Le Pew…

— Wajahat Ali (@WajahatAli) March 6, 2021

Pepe Le Pew always got what he deserved. He never got laid and that was the point.

— drlearnalot, human voodoo doll (@DrLearnALot) March 6, 2021

THANK YOU. I’m an employment lawyer who uses Pepe to train managers on what “unwelcome” means. They get it instantly.

— LawyerChyk 🇺🇸🇬🇷🏳️‍🌈 (@LawyerChyk) March 6, 2021

I call that bullshit.. I grew up with those cartoons and none of those cartoons made me think one is better because of the colour of his skin, or that it’s ok to abuse a woman. I know the difference between good or bad, between right or wrong, so I have to call that bull💩

— V (@CrazyIvan81) March 6, 2021

I've been calling this out for over 30 years in my personal life. I got a lot of eye rolls. Maybe things can change.

— Shari Salzhauer Berkowitz (@DrShariEllen) March 6, 2021

Read original story NY Times Columnist Defends Saying Pepe Le Pew ‘Normalized Rape Culture’ After Right-Wing Backlash At TheWrap