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Matt Furie Starts #SavePepe Campaign to Liberate His Creation from White Supremacists

Time
I have a question for all the male readers - do you take your trousers/underwear all the way down before you pee? If you do, then odds are good that it was Pepe the Frog who taught you to do so. Feels good man. A key character in Matt Furie's Boy's Club comics, Pepe has since become one of the most affable, endearing memes on the market.

That was until recently, when the poor, undeserving frog was kidnapped by the far right. R9k, the infamous 4Chan forum which was directly connect to Elliot Rodger, started mutating Pepe into a symbol for antisemitism. This was, supposedly, part of a wider scheme to reclaim Pepe from the 'normies' before the meme became too mainstream to be valid anymore. Our happy-go-luck stoner frog had been turned into a nasty, racist toad, to the point where the Anti-Defamation League officially declared him a hate symbol.

As you might expect, that didn't sit too well with Pepe's creator, who is now working directly with the ADL to claim Pepe back from the alt-right. Together, Matt Furie and the ADL have started a social media campaign; Furie will create a slew of positive, equality-promotion Pepe material, which the ADL will then promote on their channels under the #SavePepe banner.

Furie is also due to speak at the annual ADL 'Never is Now' summit in NYC. The opening salvo of the campaign was a strip entitled 'Too Sleep, Perchance to Meme', which is essentially a visual representation of Pepe's slow, excruciating corruption. There's nothing particularly funny or even remotely cute about it, but it sure as hell gets the point across.

If the campaign fully succeeds, Pepe might even end up getting removed from the hate symbol database, but even if he doesn't, this will make enough noise to remove any notion that Pepe ever willingly turned to the dark side side. In a broader context, this could set a precedent for how to deal with racist behaviour online, and a reminder that meme-based humour should never set out to hurt anyone.



Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @Songbird_Callum


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Matt Furie Starts #SavePepe Campaign to Liberate His Creation from White Supremacists Reviewed by Callum Davies on Wednesday, October 19, 2016 Rating: 5

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