Steve Whitmire, fired puppeteer behind Kermit the Frog, says he's 'devastated'

Steve Whitmire and Kermit.   Getty Images

Steve Whitmire and Kermit. Getty Images

Disney is clapping back at Steve Whitmire, who was sacked by the company last October after nearly three decades of voicing Kermit the Frog for The Muppets.

"For me, the Muppets are not just a job, or a career, or even a passion", Whitmire wrote on his personal blog site, titled Muppet Pundit.

Bruce Redding, the 66-year-old homeowner, was in complete shock when he got home from the gym, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Whitmire took over the role when Kermit's creator, Jim Henson, died unexpectedly in 1990.

The Muppets Studio did not detail the nature of Whitmire's "repeated unacceptable business conduct", but said it spanned "a period of many years", adding that "he consistently failed to address" his employers' feedback.

For those not in the know, The Muppets franchise and associated characters had their start on the Henson created television program Sam and Friends - which aired from 1955 to 1961 - before going on to star in their very own The Muppet Show - which aired from 1976 to 1981 - in addition to a string of feature length motion pictures starting with The Muppet Movie from 1979. The studio also notes that it made the decision to fire Whitmire after consulting with the Henson family and receiving their "full support". Henson's son, Brian, chose Whitemire as Kermit's "voice" .

Matt Vogel will now take over the role of Kermit. Finally, speaking to one singular aspect of Kermit that particularly continues to reverberate and inspire, Whitmire spoke to the continuing magic of the character residing in, "The look he brings into the eyes of anyone of any age who meets him in person".

Whitmire could not immediately be reached for comment, but in an interview Monday with The Hollywood Reporter he said the studio felt he had been too outspoken in expressing how the Kermit character should be portrayed on the ABC prime-time Muppets mockumentary series that aired in 2015-16. "I can't take credit for that, but have been truly honored to keep Jim's spirit intact".