Gabriel Iglesias defends role as Speedy Gonzales amid stereotype criticism

Last Updated on July 30, 2021

Gabriel Iglesias, Speedy Gonzales, Looney Tunes, Space Jam, Space Jam: A New Legacy

Space Jam: A New Legacy and the Looney Tunes have become the new target of what many have dubbed "cancel culture" after a New York Times piece by opinion writer Charles Blow last week talked about how racially insensitive cartoons of the past have continued to endure today. At the heart of the piece was linking the Pepe Le Pew character to "rape culture" which resulted in Warner Bros. saying the character would no longer be used in future Looney Tunes projects. It was also announced that the character would be cut from the Space Jam sequel, although it hasn't been officially confirmed that the opinion piece is what sparked the decision. Also mentioned by Blow in his story was the Looney Tunes character, Speedy Gonzales, who the writer says "whose friends helped popularize the corrosive stereotype of the drunk and lethargic Mexicans." So far, no moves have been made to "cancel" the Speedy Gonzales character but comedian Gabriel Iglesias, who is voicing the character in Space Jam: A New Legacy and whose family hails from Mexico, is defending his role in the film.

Iglesias, who goes by the name of "Fluffy" as a stand-up comedian, took to Twitter on Saturday when all of this began to break to seemingly stand by his role in the film. The tweet has picked up some steam in the days since as more headlines have addressed the issue. This morning, on the popular morning show Good Morning America, a whole segment was featured regarding this topic and it also named Speedy Gonzales in what seems to be a bid to use certain characters as examples to represent the recent wave of cancel culture.

Iglesias' tweet has now generated 28.6K likes in shows of support indicating that a lot of this is getting a bit out of control. You can check out Iglesias' tweet below:

As of now, it doesn't look like Warner Bros. is making any moves to no longer use the Speedy Gonzales character. Speedy Gonzales was introduced in 1953, voiced then by legendary voice actor Mel Blanc, who was of Russian-Jewish heritage. Blanc also provided his voice to Bugs Bunny, Daffy, Duck, Porky Pig, and many other Looney Tunes characters. In subsequent years, the character was voiced by Billy West and Fred Armisen.

While some Latinos believe that Speedy Gonzales's origins were based on an American stereotype of what Mexicans are like, a lot of the Latino community has deemed the character an icon. He is viewed as fast and quick-witted and it's a character that has been reclaimed by the group that he's supposed to be stereotyping. If anything this notion shows that fictional characters like this don't have to be problematic and they can either be used as teaching tools or something positive can emerge out of their less than ideal origins. Instead of "cancel culture", perhaps a little "teaching culture" can be a part of the new narrative.

Source: Twitter, Good Morning America

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