The meme turned far-right hate symbol has been laid to rest
Pepe The Frog, the cartoon meme that would inadvertently become a symbol for the far-right, has been ‘killed by his creator.
Designed in 2005 by cartoonist Matt Furie, Pepe – a leering frog urinating with his pants pulled down, speak’ing the catchphrase “feels good man” – became one of 4chan’s most shared memes, embodying for 4chan users someone who made bad life choices without fear of the consequences.
During Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, Pepe was adopted as a symbol of white supremacy by Hillary Clinton, being used to represent anyone that shunned political correctness and felt good about it.
“It sucks, but I can’t control it more than anyone can control frogs on the internet,” Furie told Esquire, in his attempt ‘reclaim’ the character – encouraging the internet to draw and share images of Pepe performing acts of kindness.
Now, Pepe has been ‘killed’ in a one-page strip for the independent publisher Fantagraphics’ Free Comic Book Day – reports The Guardian.
“The rehabilitation of Pepe was always going to be a struggle, and it’s hard to imagine Furie taking much joy in creating new Pepe strips knowing that, whatever his own intentions, the character would be read through tinted lenses,” writes Comic Book Resources.
They added: “While it’s unlikely Pepe’s official death will stop extremists from co-opting his image, this was, perhaps, the most effective way for Furie to reclaim his character; Pepe’s soul has returned to his creator. Rest in Peace.”
This comes after Emmanuel Macron defeated his right-wing opponent Marine Le Pen in the French Presidential Election yesterday.