July 17, 2017 5:26 pm

Kermit voice Steve Whitmire fired for ‘unacceptable’ conduct

In this July 11, 2015, file photo, Kermit the Frog, left, and puppeteer Steve Whitmire attend "The Muppets" panel on day 3 of Comic-Con International in San Diego.

Tonya Wise/Invision/AP

NEW YORK – The Muppets Studio is blaming “unacceptable business conduct” for its dismissal of Steve Whitmire as the longtime voice of Kermit the Frog.

Whitmire had been with the Muppets since 1978. He took over as Kermit after the death of Muppets founder Jim Henson in 1990. His firing was made public last week.

READ MORE: Voice of Kermit the Frog fired after 27 years, says he’s ‘devastated’

In its statement Monday the Muppets Studio did not detail Whitmire’s “repeated unacceptable business conduct,” but said it spanned “a period of many years.”

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Whitmire could not immediately be reached for comment, but told The Hollywood Reporter on Monday that the studio felt he had been too outspoken in expressing how the Kermit character should be portrayed.

READ MORE: Stephen Colbert auditions Trump administration for the voice of Kermit the Frog

The studio said veteran Muppets performer Matt Vogel is now taking over as Kermit.

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© 2017 The Canadian Press

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