No one knows why, exactly, but ‘Pepe the Frog’ has become the mascot of white supremacists in the alt-right. He can be found on memes and vemes across social media, featuring in posts that range from the pathetic to the disgusting, including blatantly homophobic and Islamophobic messaging.
The dirty little secret of Pepe and the alt-right, however, is that Pepe has been around for some time. Matt Furie – very much NOT from the alt-right – created the character in 2005 for his comic book, “Boy’s Club,” and by the 2008 the expressive frog was a regular figure in memes of all kinds.
The alt-right started using the meme sometime in 2015, and by the time the 2016 presidential election kicked into gear, Pepe the Frog was ubiquitous on right wing social media sites.
Then, this year, Eric Hauser, a member of the alt-right, wrote a children’s book titled, “The Adventures of Pepe and Pede.” In the book, Pepe the Frog is used to, “echoe President Trump’s rhetoric,” as he “sets out to make his farm ‘great again,’ and battles a bearded alligator villain called Alkah, regarded as a reference to Allah, the Muslim name for God.”
That was a bridge too for Marr Furie, who sued Hauser and his publisher to clock further sales of the book. Today, they settled the lawsuit, and the compromise they reached constitutes a complete rebuke of the book, and its author.
Lawyers acting for Matt Furie, creator of the character, reached a settlement with Eric Hauser, author of The Adventures of Pepe and Pede, barring further sales of the book and compelling Hauser to donate all profits from the title to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an advocacy group for American Muslims, reported Motherboard Monday.
So not only can’t he sell the books anymore, the profits from all the books he’s sold so far must be donated to an Islamic charity.
Cue the sad faced Pepe memes now.
Peter Mellado is a writer, producer, and a branding and messaging specialist with over 15 years experience. He studied history at San Jose State University, and resides in Los Angeles.