Pepe The Frog – Reclaimed by Hong Kong Protestors?

Pepe The Frog was a character created by Matt Furie for his comic book Boy’s Club, published by Fantagraphics in 2005.

A couple of years later, without any particular reason, it became a very popular meme image, used as avatars and emoticons in forums such as Myspace, Gaia Online and 4chan.

However by 2016, the character’s image had been appropriated as a symbol of the alt-right movement. The Anti-Defamation League included Pepe in its hate symbol database though they pointed out that most instances of Pepe in its history were not used in a hate-related context.

Matt Furie creator has expressed his despair at Pepe being used in this fashion. He tried killing the character off, and then reclaiming it, and then suing a number of organisations such as Infowars for their use of Pepe, recently settling for $15,000, the money they had charged for the poster they had sold, with Infowars promising never to use the character again.

However, this week, it looks like a very different group have been claiming Pepe The Frog for their own, repeatedly used by protesters in the Hong Kong anti-extradition bill protests against China as a symbol of liberty and resistance.

And Furie has signalled his approval of this, posting on his Tumblr…

https://mattfurie.tumblr.com/post/187134935327

https://mattfurie.tumblr.com/post/187135300852

https://mattfurie.tumblr.com/post/187215765912

And with other people starting to use the Pepe The Frog imagery in association with the Hong Kong protests, could this be a successful re-appropriation of the character?

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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