Pepe the Frog Creator Will Donate Book Profits to American-Muslim Group

In a heartwarming turn of events, Pepe the Frog creator Matt Furie will donate earnings from the illegal use of his cartoon character to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim-American rights group.

For readers who may be unaware, Pepe the Frog became heavily co-opted by the online white nationalist movement last year. Before that time, Pepe often appeared on social media. The image was one of 2015’s most popular memes, and, by and large, these memes were generally harmless fun.

Last year, however, anti-Semites and white nationalists began creating their own Pepe memes, often portraying the cartoon character in especially offensive ways. These depictions ranged from illustrations involving Donald Trump to images of Pepe wearing a Nazi uniform. Some were far more grotesque and graphic, with Pepe committing violent acts.

All, however, tended to have one common theme: a message of anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim or anti-black hatred.

Pepe the Frog became so ubiquitous among online neo-Nazi propaganda memes that the Anti-Defamation League even officially identified the image as a hate symbol.

Creator Matt Furie, unsurprisingly, found the hijacking of his cartoon character to be shocking. Though he failed, Furie briefly operated a #SavePepe social media campaign, in which he tried to reclaim the fictional frog from white nationalists.

After finally conceding defeat, Furie officially killed off Pepe the Frog in his comic series, “Boy’s Club.”

Since then, however, the right-wing has not stopped using Pepe. More recently, Eric Hauser, an assistant middle school principal in Texas released a children’s book called “The Adventures of Pepe and Pede.” As the title suggests, the story features Furie’s character and employs white nationalist themes.

Given the clear infringement on his intellectual property, Furie took legal action against Hauser. Hauser ultimately relented, agreeing to a legal settlement that entailed ending all sales of the book and handing over any earnings to Furie.

In a decision that will no doubt incense neo-Nazi meme-makers, Furie has announced that he will not keep this money for himself. Instead, he intends to donate it to the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Unfortunately, this is unlikely to mean the end of racist Pepe memes. Hopefully, however, the fate of Hauser’s “children’s” book will make people think twice before trying to co-opt a benign creation for ill-gotten profit and hatred.

Photo Credit: Fibonacci Blue / Wikimedia Commons

40 comments

Philippa P
Philippa Powers2 months ago

Thanks.

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Stephanie s
Stephanie s2 months ago

Thank you

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Stephanie s
Stephanie s2 months ago

Thank you

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Elaine W
Elaine W2 months ago

Noted. Thanks for this report.

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Chad A
Chad A2 months ago

Thank you!

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Winn A
Winn A2 months ago

Good for Matt Furie!

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Winn A
Winn A2 months ago

Petition Signed

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Marianne C
Marianne C2 months ago

Well, good for Matt Furie. It's a shame it came to this. No one should be able to just take over a character from someone else's work and twist that character into something so dark and sinister. It's like putting Dumbledore into a Nazi uniform.

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Carl R
Carl R2 months ago

Thanks!!!

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Brad S
Brad S2 months ago

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense, take the $$ from one group so you can give it to another group that's far more evil.
Even the WORST of what "white supremacists" have done is NOTHING compared to what Islamic terrorists have done, & continue to do around the World, all supported by C.A.I.R.

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