World-famous meme Pepe the Frog has been placed on the Anti-Defamation League's Hate Symbols Database, along with the swastika, burning cross, and the Confederate flag.
It has been announced today by the ADL (Anti-Defamation League) that the widely-beloved and re-tweeted Pepe the Frog has been added to the organization's official Hate Symbols Database. Although we'd expect this to be surprising to many, Pepe the Frog, a typically harmless Internet symbol, has been appropriated by the online alt-right movement as a form of antisemitic hate speech. Pepe the Frog, as well as techniques like the echo, are used by the alt-right to "dogwhistle" Jewish people online.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term 'alt-right,' it is a term used to describe the emerging extreme right-wing political movement that is largely anti-feminist, racist, homophobic, and antisemitic. The alt-right's online presence includes constant opposition to the black lives matter movement, support for presidential nominee Donald Trump, and the harassment of women like Leslie Jones.
Pepe the Frog originated in a comic book series from the early-2000's called “Boy’s Club,” and according to its creator Matt Furie, Pepe was invented with no heinous intent. Although Pepe has been placed in the Hate Symbols Database (home to the swastika, burning cross, and Confederate flag), the ADL has stated that the meme is only discriminatory in certain contexts. Pepe, there's hope for you still.