JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images
UPDATE: Better late than never, we suppose.
The Muppets fired back this past week at a Fox Business host for suggesting in December that their new movie was brainwashing kids with a radically green agenda.
"It's a funny thing, they were concerned about us having some prejudice against oil companies and I can tell you, that's categorically not true," Kermit the Frog said at a London press conference following the film's U.K. premiere, video of which is now making its way around the Internet (and is embedded below). "And besides, if we had a problem with oil companies why would we have spent the whole film driving around in a gas-guzzling Rolls Royce?"
Miss Piggy offered a more critical take: "It’s almost as laughable as accusing Fox News of, you know, being news."
The response from the puppets (or more specifically their puppeteers) comes nearly two months after Fox Business' Eric Bolling offered his less-than-flattering take on The Muppets, comments that speedily went viral given the attention-grabbing Web headlines that quickly followed.
At the time, James Bobin, the film's director, brushed aside the criticism. "Cable news is 24 hours long so you have to fill it up with something," he told the Hollywood Reporter. "No, the Muppets are not communist. And the character of Tex Richman is not an allegory for capitalism in any way. The character is called Tex Richman."
Here's the video:
Monday, Dec. 5: The Muppets are a bunch of tree-hugging commies who are trying to brainwash Americans children to hate big business.
At least that’s the case according to Fox Business’ Eric Bolling, who has some corners of the Web abuzz this week after he offered a rather critical take of the Muppets’ new movie. The Follow the Money host brought the issue up last week during a segment on his show, during which he interviewed the conservative Media Research Center’s Dan Gainor. The like-minded pair took turns pointing out what they say was the movie’s, in specific, and Hollywood’s, in general, overtly partisan take on the world.
Bolling's and Gainor's issues with The Muppets stems from the fact that its plot centers on the heroes' bid to prevent an evil oil tycoon—with the less-than-nuanced name of Tex Richman—from tearing down the Muppets’ beloved theater to drill for oil.
That narrative decision, according to Gainor, was the latest example of a Hollywood production unfairly making the oil industry the villain. After name-dropping such films as Syriana and Cars 2, he offered this take on the benefits of carbon-based fuels that he says the movie industry avoids: "None of [the movies] remind people what oil means for most people, which is fuel to light a hospital or heat your home or maybe fuel an ambulance to get you to a hospital if you need that. They don’t want to tell that story."
There’s plenty more from where that came from in the video clip (which Fox News watchdog Media Matters has here), including an attempt to tie what Bolling and Gainor see as Hollywood’s anti-corporate message to the recent Occupy Wall Street movement. (Most of the pull-quotes came from Gainor but, as you'll see in the video, Bolling clearly led the way with his questions and his own comments.)
"This is what they're teaching our kids." Gainor said. "You wonder why we've got a bunch of Occupy Wall Street people walking all around the country. They've been indoctrinated, literally, for years by this kind of stuff. Whether it was Captain Planet or Nickelodeon's Big Green Help or The Day After Tomorrow, the Al Gore-influenced movie, all of that is what they're teaching, is that corporations are bad, the oil industry is bad, and ultimately what they're telling kids is what they told you in the movie The Matrix, that mankind is a virus on poor, old Mother Earth."
The Washington Post points out one of the problems with the specific argument against the The Muppets: "Environmentalism wasn’t mentioned in the movie. The Muppets save their theater because it’s a landmark and their historical home—not because they’re trying to hinder the oil industry’s progress, or save the planet."