Pepe the frog, the Internet meme that won’t quit, was declared a “hate symbol” by the Anti-Defamation League.
The cartoon depicts a green frog and has been appropriated and re-posted in thousands of different situations since its 2005 inception. It was recently adopted as a symbol of the alt-right movement.
The Anti-Defamation League, in a statement on its website, claims the frog is a symbol of anti-semitism and white supremacy – – citing its specific use by the alt-right and 4chan users.
The Pepe controversy arose after Daily Beast journo Olivia Nuzzi falsely reported that the alt-right had entirely co-opted the meme for their movement.
The ADL goes on to acknowledge that “the mere fact of posting a Pepe meme does not mean that someone is racist or a white supremacist” and that it will only be considered to be a hate symbol “in context.”
After the Daily Beast article, the Clinton campaign claimed that Pepe was “a symbol associated with white supremacy.”
According to the ADL press release the original creator of Pepe, Matt Furie, has said this current appropriation of the cartoon frog is merely a “phase.”
The labelling of Pepe as a hate symbol also fails to consider the absolute swath of adaptions of the frog circulating the web that have zero connections to anti-semitism or white supremacy.
Despite this, in a statement made to NBC, Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center said, “Pepe the Frog is a huge favorite white supremacist meme, it’s constantly used in those circles.”
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