He began as a zine character on MySpace and soon evolved into one of the most recognizable memes on the internet.
Creator Matt Furie began fighting to regain control of Pepe the Frog after he became a symbol for white supremacists and the so-called "alt-right."
Furie created Pepe the Frog in 2005 as part his comic series Boy's Club. In 2008, someone posted a scanned page of the comic to the message board 4chan, and Pepe found an audience. By 2015, the frog had gone mainstream and was the most reblogged meme on Tumblr.
Soon after, however, Pepe began his inglorious transformation into a symbol of white supremacists. The Anti-Defamation League added Pepe to their Online Hate Symbols Database.
Furie's "peaceful, chilled out frog" eventually became an alt-right symbol:
During the campaign, Trumps Sr. and Jr. began sharing memes with Pepe made to look like Trump:
Furie killed off the character in his comic last May, but he wasn't quite dead enough. On Monday, Furie succeeded in blocking sales of a children's book called The Adventures of Pepe and Pede. The book was self-published by Eric Hauser, a former assistant principal at a North Texas middle school. Hauser's story depicted Pepe as an "an Islamophobic, alt-right champion on a mission to make his farm great again."
When Furie's intellectual property lawyers, Louis Tompros and Don Steinberg, accused him of copyright infringement, Hauser caved and agreed to a settlement “in a matter of days.” Hauser agreed to turn over all of profits from the sale of the book, $1521.54 in total. Under the terms of the agreement, the money must be paid to the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Furie is running a Kickstarter campaign to resurrect his originally fun loving character:
Boy's Club debuted in 2006, Pepe became a meme around 2010, then stuck around the internet long enough to become an institutionally recognized hate mascot. Needless to say it’s a nightmare so I killed him off. But now I’d like to bring him back, and I’d like to ask your help in funding a new zine celebrating a resurrected Pepe, one that shall shine a light in all this darkness and feel good again.
We understand there's no way to fully control the internet or how people decide to use Pepe the Frog. Trying to control that would be a completely unreasonable goal. That said, the aim of this project is to positively resurrect Pepe through the creation of a brand new comic in the spirit of the original BOY'S CLUB.
Matt Furie via Kickstarter
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