Steve Whitmire, Kermit the Frog’s Longtime Voice, ‘Devastated’ Over His Firing

After 27 years, Kermit the Frog is getting a new voice—and Steve Whitmire, the puppeteer famed for the frog’s recent sound, said Thursday he is “devastated to have failed in my duty to my hero” Muppets founder Jim Henson.

In a blog entry posted a day after his firing was made public, Whitmire said that he was terminated against his will. He wrote:

“The Muppets are not just a job, or a career, or even a passion. They are a calling, an urgent, undeniable, impossible to resist way of life. This is my life's work since I was 19 years old. 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… I just want you all to know that I am sorry if I have disappointed any of you at any point throughout our journey, and to let everyone know that I am devastated to have failed in my duty to my hero.”

Whitmire took over Kermit’s voice after Henson’s death in 1990, though he has been with the Muppets since 1978. He says he was told of the decision to recast in October but hoped there would be a change of heart.

Muppet Studio and parent company Disney have not responded to requests for comment from The AP.