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Meet the new Kermit the Frog. Everything about him is the same except for one thing: Matt Vogel, who stepped in for longtime puppeteer Steve Whitmire, is the new voice of Kermit.
A new “Muppets Thought of the Week” video was published online to YouTube and social media platforms on Monday, and a rep for Disney confirmed to EW that this marked Vogel’s debut in the role.
Whitmire voiced Kermit for 27 years before he was recast. The Muppets Studio thanked him for his contributions as Kermit after Vogel was announced as his replacement in July. However, the situation escalated when Whitmire claimed in a blog post that he was blindsided by the news and tried to remedy the situation multiple times. He later claimed in an interview that he was axed for being too “outspoken.”
The Muppets Studio then issued a more detailed response, explaining how they “raised concerns about Steve’s repeated unacceptable business conduct over a period of many years and he consistently failed to address the feedback.” Lisa Henson, president of the Jim Henson Company and Jim’s daughter, added that Whitmire refused to have an understudy for Kermit, but wouldn’t appear for “B-level performances, such as ribbon-cutting.”
And that’s where we now find Vogel. His debut video was expected shortly after the recasting announcement, but the “Thought of the Week” was quietly unveiled this week.