Space Jam 2 Backlash Over Decision to Include Droogs but Cut Pepe Le Pew

Space Jam 2 has been criticized for including a surprise cameo from Alex's Droogs, the violent gang at the center of Stanley Kubrick's film A Clockwork Orange.

The characters feature in A Clockwork Orange's most controversial scene in which they sexually assault a woman in front of her incapacitated husband.

Despite this, the Droogs can be seen courtside in Space Jam: A New Legacy during a cameo-laden set-piece featuring characters from several Warner Bros-owned films and franchises.

Their inclusion comes despite the project previously hitting the headlines after deciding to cut the character of Pepe Le Pew from the finished film.

According to Deadline, a scene involving the French skunk and Jane the Virgin actress Greice Santo was shot in June 2019 but ultimately ended up on the cutting room floor.

That decision came after New York Times writer Charles M. Blow said the character had "added to rape culture."

Fans and critics alike were quick to highlight the problematic inclusion of the Droogs in Space Jam 2.

I get why they would cut Pepe Le Pew from #SpaceJamANewLegacy just because people were upset on his actions, I don't agree with it but I get it. Then can someone explain why the #droogs have courtside seats in the movie. pic.twitter.com/4049aaxRA6

— Vanquished Victor (@CarnivalDetox) July 16, 2021

I understand them removing Pepe but the hypocrisy in leaving the Droogs in there is why I won't be watching this movie. It just seems like a spit in the face.

— RevSven (@RevSvenTV) July 12, 2021

I think it's funny how Pepe LePew gets cut, but the Droogs are okay.

— Dreadful Exmile (@mSperoni) July 16, 2021

The Chicago Tribune Film critic Michael Phillips tweeted: "The first SPACE JAM had ungodly amounts of Chicago swagger, thanks to Michael Jordan and Bill Murray. #SpaceJam2 has...droogs?"

Sports journalist Bruno Passos wrote: "I wanna hear from the exec who insisted most on the droogs from Clockwork Orange being in Space Jam 2."

So...

Pepe Le Pu was cut from Space Jam 2 because they think he's a r*pist but they kept the droogs from A Clockwork Orange ??? pic.twitter.com/wDEEPKWGNV

— ⭐️👑Slurku_irl👑⭐️ (@Slurku_irl) July 16, 2021

It's rather hypocritical on director Malcolm D. Lee's part because he removed Pepe Le Pew because someone said he promoted rape culture, yet THE DROOGS make a cameo and they are on-screen rapists.

— Cartoon Mastermind (@TomHamill2) July 17, 2021

I will NEVER get over the fact they shafted Pepe Le Pew and Penelope but still kept the freaking DROOGS from 'A Clockwork Orange' in the background of this Game... 🤦‍♂️#SpaceJamANewLegacy

— CJ Huaman (@CJHuaman94) July 17, 2021

Filmmaker Jesse Hawken sarcastically tweeted: "Some of the reviews of SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY are missing the point. This movie wasn't made for grown ups, it was made for kids. And if there's one thing that kids today love, it's references to Casablanca and A Clockwork Orange."

A Clockwork Orange and Space Jam 2
Promo still from A Clockwork Orange and Space Jam 2 - The Droogs make a controversial cameo in Lebron James' new film. Warner Bros,

YouTuber and film critic Mathew Buck also highlighted another bizarre brief cameo in the film, this time from one of the nymphomaniac nuns who featured in Ken Russell's controversial and heavily cut film The Devils.

"Wait, so Warner Bros. is infamously afraid of ever-releasing Ken Russell's The Devils in an uncut form, but will have the nymphomaniac nuns from it do a cameo in Space Jam: A New Legacy?"

It's perverse to think that Pepe Le Pew, a cartoon character whose overbearing romanticism got him "canceled," is out of the Looney Tunes circle while the Droogs from A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, viscerally-depicted rapists and murderers, are in the crowd.

— Johnny L. Bishop (@Johnny_BishopA1) July 14, 2021

Didn't they cut Pepe Le Pue (probably butchered the spelling) but for some reason think it's ok to keep the droogs

— Jodie Whitikawoo | First Class Simp (@Doctor13_2003) July 15, 2021

#SpaceJamANewLegacy So they got rid of Pepe Le Pew because he's 'problematic' but kept the Droogs from A Clockwork Orange, who indulge in rape and murder.

How does that work?

— Stephen "There's no place safe to hide" Crane (@StephenCrane71) July 16, 2021

Buck also hit out at the apparent double standards of omitting Pepe Le Pew yet including these other characters.

"WB: We can't have Pepe Le Pew on account of him being a creep. Also WB: Let's include the Droogs from A Clockwork Orange, and Christ-defiling nuns from a film so controversial that we're afraid to release it 50 years later."

Why are the Clockwork Orange droogs in Space Jam: A New Legacy - and why isn't Pepe Le Pew one of them? (you cowards!)

— Ross Purdy (@destroycomedy) July 17, 2021

The new Space Jam got rid of Pepe LePew for being "problematic" but kept in the even more notrious sex pests The Droogs from Clockwork Orange and child murder Pennywise the Clown?? pic.twitter.com/T96PneDS3Z

— Chance Not a Rapper Man (@offbrand_chance) July 14, 2021

I still find it hilarious Warner bros didn't put pepe le pew in space jam 2 because he's "sexist" but the gang rapists from clockwork orange are totally fine 👍

— 𝙅𝙖𝙨𝙤𝙣 is a whore for 𝑻𝒓𝒂𝒅𝒆𝒓 𝒋𝒐𝒆'𝒔 (@clockwork2071) July 17, 2021

Video game developer Shane Bettenhausen championed another theory for the inclusion of characters from A Clockwork Orange and other Warner Bros. properties in the film.

He tweeted: "When the first pull-quote you read from a Space Jam sequel review confirms your suspicions:

'The film is a thinly veiled excuse for Warner Bros. to parade, and possibly renew, all of its various copyrights.'"

Speaking of Space Jam 2, my bf noticed the boys from A Clockwork Orange in the background of the game scene. He was like “So Pepe Le Pew got canceled for being creepy, but the characters shown to actually rape a woman are in the background?” pic.twitter.com/COqHieDNuD

— ✿ Miss Sugar Pink ✿ (@ParisDiorChanel) July 17, 2021

The new definition of corporate irony is Space Jam 2 getting rid of Pepe LePieu because they felt he was 'rapey' but they kept THE DROOGS FROM CLOCKWORK ORANGE in the freaking movie.

Fucking WHAT?! pic.twitter.com/GCrZnpDkCA

— IceWolf (@1AIceWolf) July 17, 2021

Screenwriter and independent film producer Scott Weinberg, meanwhile, was left thoroughly baffled by the movie's surprise inclusions.

He tweeted: "Trying to keep my Space Jam tweets to a minimum but this boggles my mind as well. the Clockwork Orange boys are freaking rapists. why put them in a kid's movie??"

So Warner Bros leaves Pepe Le Pew out of Space Jam 2 because he's controversial then puts in The Droogs from A Clockwork Orange instead? Please explain the logic to me.

— Petey (@wayanze) July 17, 2021

Just want to point out that in the new Space Jam, that Pepe Le Pew was cancelled and left out of the film, but @wbpictures did include the Droogs who literally rape a woman in Clockwork Orange...They also didn't overtly sexualize Lola Bunny the way they did the first time...few? pic.twitter.com/eGe4Zf3jX9

— Jourdan Hinkle (@HinkleJourdan) July 17, 2021

Yet the strongest reactions came from the fans themselves, many of whom took to Twitter to slam Warner Bros. over the decision to include the characters while leaving out Pepe Le Pew with one tweeter dubbing it the "new definition of corporate irony."

Despite the backlash witnessed among many fans on Twitter, there were several who defended the inclusion of the characters as both funny and "ballsy."

Some sought to highlight the fact that the original Space Jam included a reference to Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction while others ranked it as their favorite thing about the new sequel and described the decision to keen the Droogs in the film as a "watershed moment" in the battle against cancel culture.

I’m absolutely dying over all these character cameos. But the one that slayed me was the Droogs!!! @spacejammovie is so ballsy! #AClockworkOrange @StanleyKubrick pic.twitter.com/x0CLlljgcz

— Mae Have Thoughts (@CrimeandtellMae) July 17, 2021

They put the Droogs from A Clockwork Orange in Space Jam….wtf haha

— i'm JC (@Jc_bythesea) July 16, 2021

Watershed moment.

The droogs were not removed from Space Jam: A New Legacy. WB dug their heels in the dirt and resisted.

This is cancel-culture’s Fort Henry.

— maffgram (@maffgram) July 17, 2021

Rick & Morty appeared in Space Jam 2 and I honestly believe it was my favorite part from the whole movie. It's not a great movie, but it sure is fun to watch for what happens and all the character cameos. Favorite cameos also had to be The Droogs from The Clockwork Orange.

— StageCraftBeast (@StageCraftBeast) July 17, 2021

Everybody freaking out bc #SpaceJam has droogs, Pennywise, and a nun from an infamous movie as background fodder, but they forget the OG film featured a PULP FICTION reference front and center pic.twitter.com/Gfx4HoIsWM

— Darth Ramious (@darthramious) July 16, 2021

Newsweek has reached out to Warner Bros. for comment.