Alex Jones’ InfoWars has paid up for its unauthorized use of a familiar cartoon frog.
Cartoonist Matt Furie won a $15,000 settlement against Jones’ website for using his creation Pepe the Frog in merchandise espousing a far-right worldview, The Washington Post reports.
Pepe, a teary-eyed anthropomorphic amphibian, dreamed up by Furie as a “peaceful frog-dude” in 2005, has been used by alt-right circles since the early 2010s after a long life as an online meme; Pepe was even seen on alt-right demagogue Richard Spencer’s lapel pin.
Furie has been vocal about defending the Pepe’s integrity. In May of 2017, Furie killed Pepe off in a comic as a statement to the groups that co-opted him. That same year, the artist sued Eric Hauser, the author of the self-published children’s book, “The Adventures of Pepe and Pede” which used Pepe’s likeness. Furie’s lawyers described the book’s content as “racist” and “Islamaphobic.” In a case of justice served, Hauser, a former assistant middle school principal in Dallas, was ordered to cede his profits from the book to the Council on American-Islamic Relations. In 2018, Furie succeeded in having Neo-Nazi site the Daily Stormer remove images of Pepe used in its articles. Furie’s lawyers are funded in part by “Save Pepe,” a Kickstarter legal fund designed to reclaim the innocence of the little green guy and to stop those who seek to profit off the cartoon by incorporating him into hateful contexts.
The case brought against InfoWars was for copyright violation relating to posters sold on the website. It was scheduled to go to trial this June until the $15,000 out of court settlement was made.
“The goal of this was not really about making money and certainly not about going after Alex Jones,” Furie’s lawyer, Louis Tompros, told The Washington Post. “The goal is to make sure the use of Pepe in association with hateful images and ideas stops, and if anybody thinks they’re going to make any money by selling Pepe hate merchandise, they won’t.”
PJ Grisar is the Forward’s culture intern. He can be reached at Grisar@Forward.com.
InfoWars Pays $15,000 To Pepe The Frog Creator