Pepe The Frog Creator Sues To Take His Meme Back From ‘Alt-Right’ by the Forward

Pepe The Frog Creator Sues To Take His Meme Back From ‘Alt-Right’

Image by Wikimedia

Pepe the Frog creator Matt Furie is taking new legal action against the “alt-right” for using illustrations of his cartoon, the amphibian character that has become an iconic meme of the far-right.

Furie has protested the transformation of his cartoon character into a cartoon associated with racism and anti-Semitism and is seeking to disassociate the smiling frog from the “alt-right” by serving cease and desist orders to a number of far-right sites and personalities, including Richard Spencer, Baked Alaska, Mike Cernovich and the Reddit channel the_Donald, Motherboard reported.

On Spencer’s site, Pepe’s face makes frequent appearances, notably as an icon for a regular podcast.

Baked Alaska, whose real name is Tim Gionet, has also been singled out. Lawyers told Motherboard that they they were able to stop Amazon from selling Gionet’s book “Meme Magic: Secrets Revealed,” which features Pepe’s face on the cover.

Cernovich has apparently been using Pepe’s likeness a number of different ways, including posting a video of a 3D version of Pepe dancing with Hillary Clinton reading aloud sections of her new book, a lawyer said.

Furie and others have previously sought to disassociate Pepe from the “alt-right,” including a social media campaign with the Anti-Defamation League to “save Pepe” from the far right. Furie also theatrically declared Pepe dead in a cartoon this summer, also as a response to the “alt-right” hijacking of the frog’s image.

This summer, Furie reached a settlement an author who was also using Pepe’s image in a children’s book that lawyers called Islamophobic. The book’s author agreed to stop selling the book, Motherboard reported, and to donate his profits to the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Lawyers said this encouraged them to continue pushing back at unauthorized “alt-right” uses of the Pepe icon.

Email Sam Kestenbaum at and follow him on Twitter at @skestenbaum


Sam Kestenbaum

Sam Kestenbaum

Sam Kestenbaum is a contributing editor and former staff writer for the Forward. Before this, he worked for The New York Times and newsrooms in Sana, Ramallah and Beijing. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter at @skestenbaum and on Instagram at @skestenbaum .

Pepe Creator Sues To Take His Meme Back From Alt-Right

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Pepe The Frog Creator Sues To Take His Meme Back From ‘Alt-Right’

Thank you!

This article has been sent!