Muslim group says it got Snoop cut from Muppet movie
Alas, the much-anticipated meeting between Kermit the Frog and Snoop Dogg is not to be. Snoop taped a cameo for NBC’s upcoming ”It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie,” but on Friday, producers announced he’d been left on the cutting-room floor, along with about a half-hour of footage from an early cut of the TV movie. While the Jim Henson Company cited ”production reasons” for the cut in a statement, a Muslim activist group is taking credit, saying it pressured the network to remove the dubious role model from the kid-friendly show.
According to Launch.com, Project Islamic Hope initiated a Snoop boycott last Monday, announcing it in a letter to NBC and on radio’s syndicated ”Larry Elder Show.” The group’s director, Najee Ali, told Launch that he objected to Snoop’s violent gangsta-rap lyrics and his appearances as a host in several pornographic videos. ”I’m not hating on Snoop,” he said, ”but as a Muslim, as a religious leader and activist, we can’t support anyone who is involved in those types of sexually explicit projects and materials.” Informed on Monday that Snoop had been snipped, he said, ”I’m sure it’s a direct result of many people who probably complained about Snoop Dogg’s being on the Muppets, but I’m glad to say that we were the catalyst who have once again tried to be a voice of morality, a voice to protect children.”
Among those complainers was Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly, who criticized NBC on Friday’s ”The O’Reilly Factor,” just as he had criticized Pepsi for using Ludacris as a spokesman in commercials aimed at kids. A day after that August broadcast, the soda bottler was inundated with complaints and decided to drop the rapper. However, a Henson Company spokesperson told Launch that O’Reilly had already been informed that Snoop had been edited out before Friday’s ”Factor.”
In fact, the company said, outside pressure had nothing to do with the cut. The producer’s initial statement read, ”As commonly occurs during this stage of production, we have had to cut several scenes originally planned for the movie which did not advance its storyline. Unfortunately, one of the scenes we have had to cut was a brief appearance by the talented artist Snoop Dogg.”
In any case, Project Islamic Hope is not done with Snoop. The group claimed credit for getting his radio show on Los Angeles’ KKBT taken off the air in 2001 with a boycott launched upon the release of the rapper’s first porn video, ”Doggystyle.” He has another skin flick, ”Snoop Dogg’s Hustlaz: Diary of a Pimp,” due out on Oct. 22, and Ali says his group will boycott Macy’s, which is selling a Snoop clothing line.
Of course, none of this answers the question of how Snoop hooked up with the Muppets in the first place. ”Hustlaz” aside, he seems to be trying to soften his image, especially with his recent announcement that he’s no longer smoking pot or drinking. In August, when he landed the Muppet gig, he told Launch, ”It’s just something for the kids. And I got three kids. So I think I’m going to take my kids with me out there [to the set in Vancouver] so they can meet [Kermit] too, you know. And do something special. Yeah, me and Kermit The Frog. Imagine that.”
Sorry, Snoop. Still can’t.