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Whitmire and Kermit were inseparable for years, with the two making TV appearances on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live and in films like Muppets Most Wanted and The Muppets in 2011.
Dear Friends, In 1978 when I was asked to join The Muppet Show, The Muppets were the hottest thing on the planet.
'I did in fact shoot the commercial, but was unable to shoot the material for the project in order to comply with my obligations to the guild.' However, Disney denied the union incident was motivation for the sacking, instead saying the dismissal was the result of: 'issues that went on for many years'.I was invited to sit at the feet of the true masters, Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt, and Dave Goelz; working alongside them, absorbing different skills from each, as we, along with many talented others, contributed towards the same shared vision, the vision of one man.The result became a skill-set for myself that was sort of a compilation of the best of them all.A Disney spokesperson told the Hollywood Reporter the company is especially careful in handling a character as iconic as Kermit, and Whitmire's refusal to change his tact forced them to make the tough decision.'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 statement read.'The decision to part ways was a difficult one which was made in consultation with the Henson family and has their full support.' Whitmire still seemed angry over his dismissal, wrapping up his interview by telling the Reporter: 'I am still trying to make sense of how those two issues were egregious enough to justify ending a 39-year career without at least giving me an ultimatum at the time the issue occurred when I would have had a chance to correct my course.'The hardest part is that I genuinely like both of the executives who chose this action and that makes this all the more disappointing.'My sadness is over knowing how important it is for the success of The Muppets to have the characters remain consistent and seeing the value of that ignored.'It comes after the 57-year-old said last week he was still hoping there was a chance he could have returned to the role he helped make famous.'For me The Muppets are not just a job, or a career, or even a passion,' he wrote on his blog.