Looney Tunes Writer Michael Ruocco Responds To Fan Backlash Against Elmer Fudd Not Using Firearms

Elmer Fudd

Bugs Bunny’s long time rival, Elmer Fudd, will have to find a new way to take out his archnemesis on HBO Max

In the upcoming revival of “Looney Tunes Cartoons” on HBO Max, Elmer Fudd will no longer use firearms. Showrunner Peter Browngardt made that abundantly clear in a recent interview with The New York Times.

Browngardt stated, “We’re not doing guns.” However, he did add, “But can do cartoony violence — TNT, the Acme stuff. All that was kind of grandfathered in.”

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In the classic Looney Tunes cartoons, Fudd routinely hunted Bugs Bunny using a rifle.

Browngardt indicates that a number of the cartoons might be too adult oriented saying, “Some of them have maybe gone a little too far, so they might come out in a different format.”

He added, “Maybe they’ll come out packaged for an Adult Swim type of thing.”

Browngardt would also detail that Looney Tunes grates against the current “wave of anti-bullying, everybody needs to be friends, everybody needs to get along.”

He explained, “Looney Tunes’ is pretty much the antithesis of that.” He added, “It’s two characters in conflict, sometimes getting pretty violent.”

Fans would not be happy with the news that Browngardt and company would no longer show Elmer Fudd using guns.

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Lady Alchemy creator Martina Markota expressed that this move to remove Fudd’s guns was part of an agenda to “erase the old.” She added, “This is how they influence new generations. We will no longer see the world we once knew.”

One user mocked HBO Max’s team referencing Pepe Le Pew.

Following this push back, Warner Bros. animator and writer Michael Ruocco defended the decision to not have Elmer Fudd use a gun, and claimed the character is defined by his “challenged masculinity.”

He wrote, “Do you guys SERIOUSLY care whether or not Elmer Fudd has a gun in our shorts? You know how many gags we can do with guns? Fairly few.”

He added, “And the best were already done by the old guys. It’s limiting. It was never about the gun, it was about Elmer’s flawed, challenged masculinity.”

He then detailed the decision to not use guns stemmed from the shooting in Las Vegas.

Ruocco wrote, “Also, think about context about what’s going on in the world, and how long ago our show started production. Late 2017, early 2018. Right on the heels of a record number of mass shootings, particularly the horrific one in Las Vegas. NOBODY wanted to touch guns working in media.”

As an aside Netflix’s The Punisher debuted on the streaming platform following the shooting Las Vegas. Also one of the most popular TV shows ever, NCIS, which features agents routinely using firearms had average viewership of 16.7 million viewers according to Entertainment Weekly. Other popular shows showcasing firearms included Blue Bloods, NCIS: New Orleans, Hawaii Five-O, NCIS: LA, Chicago PD, and Criminal Minds.

The biggest movies in 2017 also featured firearms including Wonder Woman, Thor: Ragnarok, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Despicable Me 3, and The Fate of the Furious. Also John Wick: Chapter 2 debuted in 2017.

Back to Ruocco, he continued to defend the decision writing, “I’m not here to put words in other people’s mouths or anything, but as someone who worked for 2 years with these characters, I personally did not care or miss Elmer’s rifle.”

He added, “We got a lot more out of his personality and his lack of wit than any implement in his hands. Move on.”

Ruocco would then add a correction, “Correction: I worked for nearly FIVE YEARS with these characters (3 on “Wabbit/New Looney Tunes”, 2 on “Looney Tunes Cartoons”). Still, did not care or miss the guns.”

He added, “We got a lot more out of wordplay, dynamite and the character’s own naivety/stupidity than we ever did with guns.”

Ruocco would then share an image of Bugs Bunny putting a stick of dynamite in Elmer Fudd’s mouth telling the audience, “Okay Boomer.”

He captioned the image, “My last word on the subject.”

He then added, “God this random image I drew for kicks and giggles has really come in handy these last few weeks.”

The new “Looney Tunes Cartoons” are part of HBO Max’s kids and family programming section.

Here’s the official description:

“Starring the cherished Looney Tunes characters. Looney Tunes Cartoons echoes the high production value and process of the original Looney Tunes theatrical shorts with a cartoonist-driven approach to storytelling. Marquee Looney Tunes characters will be featured in their classic pairings in simple, gag-driven and visually vibrant stories. The new series from Warner Bros. Animation is comprised of animated shorts that vary in length and includes adapted storylines for today’s audience.”


What do you make of the decision to not have Elmer Fudd using a firearm? What about Michael Ruocco’s response to the criticism of Elmer Fudd not using firearms?

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