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Jim Henson's Son Fires Back: I Should've Fired Kermit Puppeteer A Long Time Ago!

Jul. 19 2017, Updated 12:04 p.m. ET

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News of Steve Whitmire's firing keeps on coming, as now the son of legendary Kermit the Frog puppeteer, Jim Henson, has spoken out.

As RadarOnline.com can reveal, Brian Henson fired back at the backlash over the unexpected dismissal of Whitmire saying that the voice master made "outrageous demands" and often played "brinkmanship" while in the workplace.

Brian, who took over as chairman of the Jim Henson Company, said he really doesn't "want to be talking about this" and thinks it's "very sad that this has become an issue."

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Speaking of keeping his father's legacy alive, Brian stated: "My dad's No. 1 thing was don't repeat yourself. Innovate. Do something new," Henson said. "He is the guy who canceled The Muppets Show when it was the No. 1 show in the world after five seasons because he was worried he was going to start repeating himself. The last thing my dad would want is that Kermit just keeps doing the same thing over and over and over and is in the same circumstances and having the same attitude. The character needs to be stretched and maintain his heart."

Brian claimed that he truly should've let Whitmire go before letting Disney take over his company.

"I have to say, in hindsight, I feel pretty guilty that I burdened Disney by not having recast Kermit at that point because I knew that it was going to be a real problem. And I have always offered that if they wanted to recast Kermit, I was all for it, and I would absolutely help," he said.

Despite the former puppeteer's sad comments about being "miserable" after his dismissal, Brian said: "I am very glad we have done this now. I think the character is better served to remove this destructive energy around it."

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As Radar readers know, Whitmire publicly stated his feelings over his firing by writing an emotional post, mourning the role he played for 27 years.

"I feel that I am at the top of my game, and I want all of you who love the Muppets to know that I would never consider abandoning Kermit or any of the others because to do so would be to forsake the assignment entrusted to me by Jim Henson, my friend and mentor, but even more, my hero," he wrote.

After his firing, a heartbroken Whitmire suggested he was let go for a variety of different "issues."

"We raised concerns about Steve's repeated unacceptable business conduct over a period of many years, and he consistently failed to address the feedback. The decision to part ways was a difficult one which was made in consultation with the Henson family and has their full support," Debbie McClellan, head of the Muppets Studio division of Disney, claimed to The New York Post.

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Brian claimed that Whitmire had strain away from the original character made famous by Jim Henson.

"Kermit has, as a character, flattened out over time and has become too square and not as vital as it should have been," he said.

He continued: "Again, what my dad brought to it — without even thinking because he was accessing his own character that was coming out of his own personality — was a wry intelligence, a little bit of a naughtiness, but Kermit always loved everyone around and also loved a good prank."

"There was an awful lot of stuff to Kermit where people thought, 'Oh, Kermit is a wholesome, all-American lovely guy,' which was not really what my dad developed," said Brian.

He then assured fans that he has full confidence in Matt Vogel, who was recently named the new Kermit puppeteer.

He concluded by saying: "So there was a lot of complexities to Kermit that have been kind of falling away, and I do believe Matt Vogel can access that energy really well. And Matt is a very good performer. And I believe that in protecting Kermit going forward, Matt will do a really wonderful job. I think the fans should not be so scared of change. Steve did Kermit for a very long time — I would say for far too long. And the character was no longer being serviced by Steve performing Kermit."

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