“The role of Kermit the Frog is an iconic one that is beloved by fans and we take our responsibility to protect the integrity of that character very seriously,” according to the statement. “We raised concerns about Steve’s repeated unacceptable business conduct over a period of many years and he consistently failed to address the feedback. The decision to part ways was a difficult one which was made in consultation with the Henson family and has their full support.”
No details were given about the “unacceptable business conduct.” Whitmire took to his personal blog, writing, “I see my most important task as providing a taste of the atmosphere created by Jim Henson to those Post-Jim core performers who will never otherwise come by it. My hope was to install it directly into their hearts and minds so that they could, in turn, be inspired to do the same for the next generation of performers instead of the characters becoming stale copies of their former selves. But, as I look around at what is presently transpiring it’s clear to me that the job is far from done.”
Whitmire had worked for the Muppets since 1978 and served as the voice of Kermit since 1990 after the death of Jim Henson. Whitmire will be replaced by Matt Vogel, who previously performed as Kermit imitator Constantine in Muppets Most Wanted.