ADL Declares ‘Pepe the Frog’ as Official Hate Symbol by the Forward

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.

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 or on Twitter at @lillymmaier

‘Pepe the Frog’ is Now an Official Hate Symbol

‘Pepe the Frog’ is Now an Official Hate Symbol

‘Pepe the Frog’ is Now an Official Hate Symbol

This story "ADL Declares ‘Pepe the Frog’ as Official Hate Symbol" was written by Lilly Maier.


Lilly Maier

Lilly Maier

Lilly Maier is a news intern at the Forward. She is a graduate journalism student at New York University, where she studies as a Fulbright scholar. She also holds a B.A. in Jewish history from the University of Munich.
Contact Lilly at, read her portfolio, or follow her on Twitter.

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ADL Declares ‘Pepe the Frog’ as Official Hate Symbol

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