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Pepe the Frog’s Creator is Working to Bring Him Back to the Side of Peace

Frog and Toad. Kermit. Froggie da Gremlin. The protagonist of Frogger. The “Bud!” “Weis!” “Er!” trio. If green amphibians in pop culture have one thing in common, it’s that they’re generally pretty benevolent, and want to be your friend. But the past year or so might have put that to the test. Matt Furie‘s Pepe the frog was intended to be just as benevolent–a stoner frog with the catchphrase “Feels good man,” known primarily for putting his pants down around his ankles to urinate. But somewhere in Internet Message Board Land, he became coopted. These many months later, Furie is Kickstarting an effort to bring Pepe back to the light side.

 

It’s unclear exactly how and why Pepe became synonymous with such toxicity. To web-savvy Republican voters, he became a symbol of Donald Trump‘s “Make America Great Again” campaign. To online trolls, he was used as a symbol of “ironic” bigotry to get a rise out of the supposed politically correct. In absolute worst cases, he was adopted by white supremacists and racists, inserted into memes that were deliberately hateful toward particular groups. The one thing all these uses had in common is that none of them represented the wishes or the spirit of Pepe’s creator.

 

Furie’s initial reaction was to try to ignore the misuse of his character; when that didn’t work, he killed him off in a comic strip. But the memes continued regardless, so he now has decided to take back his creation, Kickstarting a new comic that will return the character to being “a universal symbol for peace, love, and acceptance.”

The campaign has already achieved its desired funding, but if you’d like to get some official Pepe artwork, an enamel pin, signed drawings, or even a character in the book named after you, there are still 25 days left to do so as of this writing.

Can the fun-loving frog become a prince of a persona again? Croak out some comments below and tell us what you think.

Featured Image: Matt Furie

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