After his famous cartoon character was declared a “hate symbol,” the creator of Pepe the Frog has announced that he will support Hillary Clinton‘s bid for the presidency.
Pepe is the 2005 brainchild of Matt Furie, and he’s been featured in comics, memes, and numerous forms of harmless online content for years. As of Tuesday, however, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) declared the frog has been warped into a racist, anti-semitic icon on numerous Internet forums.
The ADL took note of Pepe’s most recent use on 4chan, 8chan, and Reddit, saying that alt-right trolls frequently portray his image to resemble Nazis or Klansmen. One of the most conspicuous aspects of this trend is that these images frequently get passed around with approving reference to Donald Trump.
Pepe’s white supremacist connotations have made it into the Trump campaign’s core, particularly when top adviser Roger Stone and Donald Trump Jr. shared a recent meme featuring him. Furie told Esquire that he never knew how his image became a meme in the first place, but he has no attachments to the alt-right, and he does not approve of what they’ve done to Pepe:
“I’ve seen outrageous stuff involving Pepe online before, but I try not to dwell on it. I blame Trump for all of this, because he kind of looks like this smug Pepe meme. Now it’s just this runaway train. But the people who are driving this train are these anonymous Internet trolls who don’t stand for anything except for nihilism and getting a rise out of whatever racist or sexist or disgusting thing they can do. It’s just an idiotic joke… I’m voting for Hillary for sure. I was a big fan of Bernie, but that fizzled out, so I’m all Hillary 2016.”
[Image via screengrab]
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