Pepe the Frog rises from grave to seek vengeance against alt-right

Creator Matt Furie wants to take Pepe away from the alt right

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published June 27, 2017 10:27AM (EDT)

A Trump supporter holds a sign bearing the image of Pepe the Frog.  (Getty/Josh Edelson)
A Trump supporter holds a sign bearing the image of Pepe the Frog. (Getty/Josh Edelson)

If Pepe the Frog's creator has anything to say about it, his creation will shake off the cloak of bigotry which has been thrown around its shoulders by members of the alt right.

Cartoonist Matt Furie told the Associated Press that he plans on reviving Pepe after killing him off last month, according to a report by ABC News.

To achieve this goal, he and his brother Jason have started a crowdfunding campaign to raise $10,000 for the publication of a Pepe comic book. In addition, Furie has hired attorney Kimberly Motley to explore legal options against alt right-ists who have used Pepe's image to promote their cause without the creator's permission.

According to Furie, "once we get the money together, we're going to do it [the comic book] from scratch" even as he fights to "gain some entrepreneurial control" over Pepe for the future.

In the comic in which Furie killed off Pepe, the titular frog was seen deceased in an open casket at a wake. It was an emotional end for a character devised by Furie in his 2005 comic book "Boy's Club," which initially had very little to do with politics. Furie himself identifies as a progressive and was reported to be horrified at the use of Pepe's image to promote racism, anti-Semitism, misogyny and other hateful ideas.

In a press statement explaining their decision to label Pepe the Frog as a "hate symbol," the Anti-Defamation League argued that "Pepe the Frog did not originally have anti-Semitic connotations."

It added, "But as the meme proliferated in online venues such as 4chan, 8chan and Reddit, a subset of memes came into existence promoting anti-Jewish, bigoted and offensive ideas. And those have spread virally on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere."

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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4chan Alt Right Cartoons Comic Books Culture Entertainment Matt Furie Partner Video Pepe Pepe The Frog Racism