Gabriel Iglesias, aka the comedian known as “Fluffy”, is defending his role as Speedy Gonzales in Space Jam: A New Legacy.
The 1996 original starred NBA icon Michael Jordan and a roster of Looney Tunes characters, including Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tweety Bird, Porky Pig and the runaway mouse known as Speedy — who will return in the sequel led by Los Angeles Lakers legend LeBron James.
However, critics have called out the classic cartoon character, a bilingual mouse from Mexico who wears a sombrero and speaks in a thick accent, for playing into stereotypes about Latin Americans.
A New York Times piece by opinion writer Charles Blow last week discussed how racially insensitive cartoons of yore have endured today — tied to news that a number of Dr. Seuss’ books would be pre-emptively pulled from shelves and production over what some may call problematic subject matter.
Recalling the first cartoons he remembers seeing, Blow mentions Speedy Gonzales, “whose friends helped popularise the corrosive stereotype of the drunk and lethargic Mexicans”.
Iglesias, whose family hails from Mexico, later took to Twitter to defend the character and his role.
“I am the voice of Speedy Gonzales in the new Space Jam. Does this mean they are gonna try to cancel Fluffy too? U can’t catch me cancel culture. I’m the fastest mouse in all of Mexico,” the 44-year-old actor tweeted on the weekend.
Iglesias’ tweet has since garnered more than 20,000 Twitter likes in support.
The character Speedy Gonzales debuted in 1953, played then by legendary voice actor Mel Blanc, of Russian-Jewish heritage, who also spoke for Bugs, Daffy Duck, Porky and most Looney Tunes characters.
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