New Campaign Seeks To Save Pepe The Frog

Ford Springer | Contributor

The Anti-Defamation League, a group that fights anti-Semitism, is working with Pepe the Frog creator Matt Furie to save the cartoon from its recent association with racism and bigotry.

Pepe’s image was tarnished after some social media users have cast the frog as a symbol of hate, an association that was never intended by the cartoon’s creator. The Anti-Defamation League announced Friday that they will launch a campaign along with Furie to “try and reform the image,” the New York Times reports.

“Pepe was never intended to be used as a symbol of hate,” Jonathan A. Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, said in a news release. “The sad frog was meant to be just that, a sad frog. We are going to work with Matt and his community of artists to reclaim Pepe so that he might be used as a force for good, or at the very least to help educate people about the dangers of prejudice and bigotry.”

Furie will be working with the group to create “a series of positive Pepe memes and messages” that will be promoted on social media outlets using the hashtag #SavePepe.

Pepe recently became something of a mascot for the Alt-Right movement, and, subsequently a symbol of white supremacy and hate. Pepe’s newly-developed, widespread association with racism caught the Anti-Defamation League’s attention who categorized the symbol with the likes of the swastika and the Confederate flag.

“The true nature of Pepe, as featured in my comic book, ‘Boys Club,’ celebrates peace, togetherness and fun,” Furie said in a news release. “I aim to reclaim the rascally frog from the forces of hate and ask that you join me in making millions of new, joyful Pepe memes that share the lighthearted spirit of the original chilled-out champion.”

In a column in Time magazine Friday, the cartoon creator said it was “completely insane” that racists have turned “a once peaceful frog-dude” into a symbol of hate.

Oren Segal, the director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, said the group will encourage people to share the positive side of the frog and see how it plays out. “We hope to save Pepe,” Segal added.

Ford Springer

Contributor

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