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Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam go gun-free in ‘Looney Tunes’ cartoon reboot

Warner Bros. Cartoons poster from 1946. (L-R) Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd and Porky Pig. LMPC via Getty Images

It’s been less than two weeks since the launch of HBO Max‘s highly anticipated Looney Tunes reboot, Looney Tunes Cartoons, and people are beginning to notice a minor change in the historic kids’ TV series.

What is it, some might ask? Well, fan-favourite characters such as Yosemite Sam and Elmer Fudd — the big-headed hunter with the rhotacism speech impediment — no longer wield guns in the 2020 iteration of the cartoon franchise.

Instead, Fudd now possesses a shiny and sharp-looking scythe. The executive producer and showrunner of the show, Peter Browngardt, confirmed the change during an interview with the New York Times last month.

“We’re not doing guns,” he said. “But we can do cartoony violence — TNT, the Acme stuff. All of that was kind of grandfathered in.”

The revelation resulted in a major divide among fans, with many condemning Looney Tunes for taking away the “Second Amendment pioneers‘” “trusty” weapons, while others praised the show for making the change for a “modern audience” who might be potentially be triggered by gunfire as a result of mass shootings all across the world.

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Though he didn’t provide a specific explanation as to why Looney Tunes has gone gun-free, Browngardt said that the studio wanted to return to make Looney Tunes Cartoons as close to the original cartoon.

“I always thought, ‘What if Warner Bros. had never stopped making “Looney Tunes” cartoons? “As much as we possibly could, we treated the production in that way,” he told the outlet.

Initially, Looney Tunes launched in 1930 and throughout the history of the nearly-century spanning cartoon, characters like Fudd and Yosemite Sam have always — until now — wielded guns.

Fudd used his rifle often in an attempt to hunt down the crafty, “or pesky wabbit” Bugs Bunny ⁠— as well as his grumpy, duck-billed counterpart, Daffy Duck.

‘Rabbit Seasoning’, a 1952 ‘Looney Tunes’ episode. (L-R): Elmer Fudd, Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. CP Images Archive

Yosemite Sam, the often-aggressive and short-tempered cowboy’s goal was often the same: to kill Bugs Bunny. Though he isn’t a hunter like Fudd, his character is known well for his hatred for rabbits.

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Despite the company’s decision to remove guns from Looney Tunes Cartoons, the show is still heavy on its usage of other weaponry and the classic cartoon violence the series became known for in the early 20th century, according to the NY Times.

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Angered Looney Tunes fans rushed to Twitter in wake of the news airing their grievances at the show’s producer, with many asking how Fudd was going to hunt down Bugs Bunny.

“This is blasphemy,” tweeted one fan.

Here’s what some other Twitter users had to say:

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One user tweeted HBO Max directly, writing: “I don’t know what you think you doing to Looney Tunes, but you went a little too far with saying you are getting rid of Elmer Fudd’s gun.”

“It’s the little details that make the show and honestly, this was a stupid move. #sorrynotsorry,” they added.

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Despite the backlash sparked by Browngardt’s announcement, many supported the decision for Looney Tunes to go firearm-free, expressing their opinions that the show is still good regardless of gun violence.

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“I can understand being disappointed that Elmer’s not toting a gun in the new Looney Tunes shorts, but please don’t let that stop you from watching them,” tweeted one user.

“They’re actually really good,” they added, “and there’s still plenty of slapstick violence in them.”

Here’s what some other supporters had to say via Twitter:

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While many commended Looney Tunes and many berated it, a large amount of “folks” seemingly remained neutral, after pointing out the excessive use of guns used only eight years ago in The Looney Tunes Show (2011-2014).

Others brought attention to the repeated use of blackface in the history of the world-renowned cartoon.

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“I love how Elmer Fudds gun is something these people wanted to bring up as a problem and not the constant blackface in the old Looney Tunes shorts,” tweeted another.

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Global News has reached out to a representative of Warner Bros. seeking comment.

adam.wallis@globalnews.ca

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