Tags: pepe the frog | hate symbol | anti-defamation league | cartoon

Pepe the Frog Named as Hate Symbol by Anti-Defamation League

Image: Pepe the Frog Named as Hate Symbol by Anti-Defamation League

Pepe the Frog was identified as a hate symbol by the Anti-Defamation League. (Twitter screengrab)

By    |   Wednesday, 28 Sep 2016 12:59 PM

Pepe the Frog was identified as a hate symbol by the Anti-Defamation League, which said the cartoon character has been used by some on social media to "suggest racist, anti-Semitic, or other bigoted notions."

The cartoon had been added to the Anti-Defamation League's online "Hate on Display" database, the organization said in a statement.

"Once again, racists and haters have taken a popular Internet meme and twisted it for their own purposes of spreading bigotry and harassing users," Jonathan A. Greenblatt, the Anti-Defamation League's chief executive officer, said in the statement.

"These anti-Semites have no shame. They are abusing the image of a cartoon character, one that might at first seem appealing, to harass and spread hatred on social media," Greenblatt continued.

Pepe the Frog did not start out as an alleged hate symbol, first appearing in "Boy's Club" cartoons by Matt Furie in 2005, according to USA Today. The newspaper said the cartoon was often depicted as an easy-going character with the slogan "feels good, man," among others.

The Daily Beast said celebrities like singer Katy Perry and rapper Nicki Minaj have either shared or used images of Pepe the Frog.

Donald Trump Jr. reposted a photoshopped image of the frog and Republicans including his father with the title "The Deplorables," a phrase Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, used to describe some of Republican presidential nominee's supporters, wrote USA Today.

The ADL said the Pepe the Frog cartoon was being used in "a subset of memes (that) came into existence promoting anti-Jewish, bigoted and offensive ideas," wrote USA Today. The Daily Beast wrote in May that the cartoon was embraced by some Nazi groups in their publications. The Clinton campaign pointed that out when complaining about Trump Jr.'s repost, noted USA Today.

Furie told The Atlantic earlier this month and he believes the use of his character among Nazi groups is "a phase" that will change after the election.

"My feelings are pretty neutral, this isn't the first time that Pepe has been used in a negative, weird context," Furie told The Atlantic. "I think it's just a reflection of the world at large. The internet is basically encompassing some kind of mass consciousness, and Pepe, with his face, he’s got these large, expressive eyes with puffy eyelids and big rounded lips, I just think that people reinvent him in all these different ways, it's kind of a blank slate. It's just out of my control, what people are doing with it, and my thoughts on it are more of amusement."

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Pepe the Frog was identified as a hate symbol by the Anti-Defamation League, which said the cartoon character has been used by some on social media to suggest racist, anti-Semitic, or other bigoted notions.
pepe the frog, hate symbol, anti-defamation league, cartoon
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Wednesday, 28 Sep 2016 12:59 PM
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