Tuesday May 09, 2017

Pepe the Frog Dead: Creator Kills Off Internet Meme

Cartoonist Matt Furie killed off Pepe this weekend in a one-page strip. The frog was originally created in 2005 for a comic series called Boy’s Club and became a meme after gaining recognition for peeing with his pants down to his ankles. Recently, Pepe has been accused of being a symbol of hate, which is what convinced his creator to kill him off. Too bad he isn’t dead until 4chan says he is.

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The frog began as a harmless cartoon in 2005, Furie has said, in the Fantagraphics' comic book "Boy's Club." Pepe gained popularity over the next few years online as a meme before his more recent association with white supremacists, neo-Nazi groups and the so-called "alt-right." The Anti-Defamation League launched a #SavePepe campaign in October, in an attempt to reclaim the positive message originally behind the meme. Pepe the Frog had previously been declared a hate symbol by the ADL. Furie said in a post on TIME's website the day before the campaign was launched that it was "completely insane that Pepe has been labeled a symbol of hate, and that racists and anti-Semites are using a once peaceful frog-dude from my comic book as an icon of hate."