Pepe the Frog's creator raises $20,000 to reclaim him from the alt-right

Matt Furie is trying to reclaim his cartoon frog that was appropriated by the alt-right and deemed a "hate symbol"

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published July 11, 2017 2:07PM (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)

Pepe the Frog's creator is planning on reclaiming his character from the alt right — and there are a lot of ordinary citizens willing to help him.

According to his Kickstarter page, Furie wants to take Pepe back to the days when he was a "blissfully stoned frog" who "enjoyed a simple life of snacks, soda and pulling his pants all the way down to go pee." He also wants to decouple the character's image from the meme who "stuck around the internet long enough to become an institutionally recognized hate mascot," an experience that Furie describes as "a nightmare."

He adds, "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."

As of the time of this writing, Furie's Kickstarter campaign has received more than 300 backers and raised more than $20,000, despite setting an initial goal of only $10,000. It still has 20 days left before expiring.

In order to begin the process of taking Pepe back, Furie drew a cartoon last month which depicted the character as dead and at a wake. He wasn't coy about his ultimate intentions, saying at the time that "once we get the money together, we’re going to do it [the comic book] from scratch" and that he hoped to "gain some entrepreneurial control" over a character whose image and message had been seized from its creator.

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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Alt Right Donald Trump Matt Furie Partner Video Pepe The Frog