Anti-Defamation League teams with Pepe the Frog creator Matt Furie to take meme back from racists
Last month, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) declared Internet cartoon meme Pepe the Frog a hate symbol.
Now, it's hoping Pepe will leap off that list.
According to a press release, Pepe creator Matt Furie will create a series of positive images which the ADL will promote on its social media pages in an attempt to rescue the frog from the clutches of racists and trolls.
"It's 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," Furie wrote for Time Ideas. "It's a nightmare, and the only thing I can do is see this as an opportunity to speak out against hate."
After the ADL added Pepe to its online database of hate symbols, Furie reached out to the organization to try to reclaim his beloved frog, and #SavePepe was born. Furie and the ADL hope that people will retweet and share the positive images of Pepe on social media using the hashtag.
"Pepe was never intended to be used as a symbol of hate," ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt said in the 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."
"I understand that it's out of my control, but in the end, Pepe is whatever you say he is," Furie added in Time. "And I, the creator, say that Pepe is love."