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ADL Declares ‘Pepe the Frog’ as Official Hate Symbol

The Anti Defamation League (ADL) has added “Pepe the Frog” to its database of online hate symbols. The cartoon frog is a popular meme among “alt-right” Twitter trolls and white supremacists.

Pepe the Frog was originally created in 2005 without any anti-Semitic or racist overtones. At the time, it was simply a meme of a sad frog.

But more recently the frog has been portrayed with a Hitler-like mustache, wearing a yarmulke or a Ku Klux Klan hood.

Image by twitter

Pepe has also been used in hateful messages targeted at Jewish and other users on Twitter, according to the ADL. (To see a time line of such anti-Semitic attacks on Jewish journalists, click here.)

“Once again, racists and haters have taken a popular Internet meme and twisted it for their own purposes of spreading bigotry and harassing users,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, the ADL’s CEO.

“These anti-Semites have no shame. They are abusing the image of a cartoon character, one that might at first seem appealing, to harass and spread hatred on social media.”

Earlier this month, Trump’s son posted a movie poster parody of himself heroically grouped with Pepe and others deemed “The Deplorables” on Instagram.


In June, the ADL created a task force to document attacks on journalists, and analyze the size of the “alt-right” movement. They are planning to release a detailed report on their findings in mid-October.

With JTA

Lilly Maier is a news intern at the Forward. Reach her at maier@forward.com or on Twitter at @lillymmaier

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