Following Henson's death, veteran Muppet performer Steve Whitmire was named Kermit's new performer. In 2017, Whitmire seemed to imply in a blog post that Jim Henson had asked him to assume the role before he died, though Jim's daughter Cheryl Henson claimed Brian had selected him after Jim's death. Whitmire's first public performance as Kermit was at the end of the television special The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson in 1990. He remained Kermit's principal performer until 2016. Disney announced that Matt Vogel would be taking over as the performer and voice for Kermit on July 10, 2017. Whitmire later revealed that he had not chosen to voluntarily leave the role, but rather, had been recast by Muppet Studios in October 2016. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter later in July 2017, Whitmire elaborated he was fired for two reasons: long-term creative disagreements over Kermit's characterization and prolonged labor union negotiations that delayed his involvement in Muppet-related productions.
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