18/07/2017 08:38 BST | Updated 18/07/2017 12:27 BST

Kermit The Frog Voice Actor Steve Whitmire Fired By Muppets Studio Over 'Unacceptable Business Conduct'

'We raised concerns about his unacceptable business conduct over many years.'

Former Kermit The Frog voice actor Steve Whitmire was fired by Disney over “unacceptable” behaviour spanning a number of years, the company has revealed.

Last week, the Muppets performer made headlines when it was revealed that he was being replaced as the voice of Kermit after 26 years in the role.

Disney has now issued an official statement over their reasoning for recasting the iconic character, claiming he’d been repeatedly warned over his “unacceptable business conduct”.

Lawrence Lucier via Getty Images
Steve Whitmire as Kermit

A spokesperson for The Muppets Studio said: “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.

“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.”

Since his dismissal, Steve has had his say on the matter in a string of blog posts, writing last week: “This is my life’s work since I was 19 years old. I feel that I am at the top of my game, and I want all of you who love the Muppets to know that I would never consider abandoning Kermit or any of the others because to do so would be to forsake the assignment entrusted to me by Jim Henson, my friend and mentor, but even more, my hero.

“I just want you all to know that I am sorry if I have disappointed any of you at any point throughout our journey, and to let everyone know that I am devastated to have failed in my duty to my hero.”

Steve first joined the Muppets in 1978, working on a variety of characters on ‘The Muppet Show’, before taking over as the voice of Kermit in 1990, following the death of Jim Henson.

He also voiced Muppets characters including Rizzo the Rat, Beaker and Statler, of curmudgeonly duo Statler and Waldorf.

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