Pepe is dead: Meme's creator kills off controversial frog after it was hijacked by white supremacists

The meme was condemned by Hillary Clinton and designated a hate symbol by the Anti-Defamation League

Samuel Osborne
Monday 08 May 2017 03:25 EDT
Pepe the Frog as Donald Trump
Pepe the Frog as Donald Trump

The creator of Pepe the Frog has killed off his popular character after it was hijacked by white supremacists.

Matt Furie previously joined with civil rights groups in an attempt to rescue the cartoon frog from use by the alt-right, but he has now killed off Pepe in a one-page cartoon strip.

The cartoonist created Pepe as part of his "Boy's Club" series on MySpace in 2005 and the now-infamous frog became a popular meme in the late 2000s.

But the meme became a favourite among far and alt-right supporters to express racist and anti-Semitic sentiments, and Pepe was shown in Ku Klux Klan or Nazi outfits.

Cartoonist Matt Furie killed off Pepe the Frog in a one-page cartoon strip

Hillary Clinton condemned Donald Trump for sharing the meme, which she identified as a racist hate symbol.

It was late officially designated a hate symbol by the Anti-Defamation League, which noted the traction it had gained with the alt-right movement.

“It’s completely insane that Pepe has been labeled a symbol of hate, and that racists and anti-Semites are using a once peaceful frog-dude from my comic book as an icon of hate,” Mr Furie said at the time.

“It’s a nightmare, and the only thing I can do is see this as an opportunity to speak out against hate."

“As the creator of Pepe, I condemn the illegal and repulsive appropriations of the character by racist and fringe groups."

But Mr Furie appears to have conceded defeat, drawing Pepe lying in an open casket while his friends mourn him.

The rehabilitation of Pepe was always going to be a struggle," Shaun Manning wrote in Comic Book Resources, "and it’s hard to imagine Furie taking much joy in creating new Pepe strips knowing that, whatever his own intentions, the character would read through tinted lenses.

"While it’s unlikely Pepe’s official death will stop extremists from co-opting his image, this was, perhaps, the most effective way for Furie to reclaim his character; Pepe’s soul has returned to his creator. Rest in Peace."

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