How ‘Pepe the Frog’ went from harmless to hate symbol
By JESSICA ROY
OCT. 11, 20166 AM
Feels bad, man.
Denizens of the darker corners of the Internet turned an innocent frog comic into a hate symbol of the "deplorable" alt-right.
"Pepe the Frog" first appeared in 2005 in the comic "Boy's Life" by artist and illustrator Matt Furie. The comics depict Pepe and his anthropomorphized animal friends behaving like stereotypical post-college bros: playing video games, eating pizza, smoking pot and being harmlessly gross.
In 2008, fans of the comic began uploading Furie's work online. In one comic, Pepe responds to a question about his bathroom habits with, "Feels good, man."
. . .
It all seemed in good fun, but in late September, Pepe's green visage was designated a hate symbol by the Anti-Defamation League.
The ADL's online hate symbol database is designed to help law enforcement, educators, and members of the general public identify potentially hateful images, explained Oren Segal, the director of the organization's Center on Extremism. He said that in recent years, hate symbols have proliferated online. Now, with things like Pepe the frog, anti-Semitic images are originating and circulating almost primarily on social media.
In some instances, Pepe wears a Hitler mustache, and his signature message is replaced with "Kill Jews Man." In others, Pepe poses in front of a burning World Trade Center, dressed like an Orthodox Jewish person with a yarmulke and payot. He's also been spotted wearing a Nazi soldier's uniform and in a KKK hood and robe.
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