Messieurs and mesdemoiselles, bonsoir! It is good to see so many attractive journalists here today. I would like to make love to each and every one of you! Ha ha! Oui, oui—my representatives are telling me not to get distracted. Is good advice, non? This is my problem! I have too much amour, non? Anyway, I have come before you today to make an apology.
Questions have been raised about some of my past interactions with cats and dogs whom I perceived to be highly attractive lady skunks. I never intended to offend anyone or cause any harm. It was all about the amour, non? But, still, my actions are not—how do you say—appropriate. Pepé is très sorry.
It would be easy to blame my behavior on having been insulated by privilege—the privilege of being a well-known celebrity skunk. But I will not do this. It would also be so easy to make some excuse. Like, other skunks have engaged in disreputable behavior for decades without getting caught. Or, only a few unreliable cats and dogs have complained, and they can’t even talk. And, yes, it would be très facile to cast the blame on others, like the painters who are always so sloppy with their painting, leading to white stripes down the backs of black cats and much, much confusion. Mon Dieu, why is it always white paint?
But Pepé knows that the time for excuses has passed.
I am sorry for letting everyone down—my family, my friends, my business associates, other skunks, other French animals, and, of course, the cats and dogs whom I confused with highly attractive lady skunks and relentlessly pursued through cities, forests, the Swiss Alps, and ocean liners. Je suis désolé.
I would also like to apologize to my “Looney Tunes” co-stars. Though I should say that I do not see Mr. Elmer Fudd or Mr. Yosemite Sam out here apologizing for glamorizing gun violence. Or Mr. Bugs Bunny apologizing for his propagation of racist stereotypes. Or Mr. Speedy Gonzales for . . . everything. But that is the way of the world, non? Tolerance for violence and racism in America is always higher than tolerance for amour. D’accord—once more, my representatives are reminding me not to get distracted. And that aggression and unwanted advances are not to be confused with love. C’est la vie.
You have to remember, I came of age in an era when a French animal who did not respond to obvious social cues was considered hilarious. But no more! At one time, there may have been a place for a talking skunk who walked on his hind legs and pursued the love of cats and dogs whom he misidentified as female skunks. But that time is not now.
I will just say that, in making “Looney Tunes,” I feel I am being playful and saying jokes that I think are funny. Like, “You will never get away from me, ma chérie! ” And, “I will never release you until you make sweet love to me!” I have meant no offense, and only attempt to add some fun to what might otherwise be a long ocean voyage or a boring hike through the Swiss Alps.
I now understand that my interactions may have been insensitive and too personal, and that some of my comments, given my position as a powerful, public skunk, made others feel in ways that I never intended. What I took to be an innocent game of “lover’s chase” was to them predation by an aggressive animal. What I read as the normal bulging eyes and terrified grimace of flirtation was instead a concerted effort to escape me. Rather than feeling the excitation of a first date, they felt as if I was holding them hostage inside a hollow tree. To the extent that any cat or dog felt that way, I am truly sorry.
And I want you all to know that I am getting help. I have hired many, many lawyers to help me through this difficult time.
To show you how much I’ve changed, these lawyers have encouraged me to do some positive things that are pretty much the opposite of the bad things I have already done. I will give much money to animal-rescue centers, to help the traumatized dogs and cats, and will provide the latest eco-friendly revitalizing shampoos to remove the white stripes from their backs. But that is just the beginning! I now pledge to work with lawmakers throughout America and use my influence to upgrade our safety standards for painters. The white paint must stop spilling from high-up places right now!
But that I should resign my role in “Looney Tunes”? Pas vrai! Surely this would send a bad message to the fans who love Pepé. Instead, I am starting a new chapter of my career, which I am excited to tell you about. No longer will I depend on the confused, hyperaggressive pursuit of the opposite sex for comedy. I am instead having my white stripe dyed black—a switcheroo, n’est pas?—and will audition for the role of Sylvester for French-speaking audiences. Non, ma chérie, it is not ideal. But, as the exploited, underpaid worker bird in “The Flintstones” says, “It’s a living.”