The Anti-Defamation League Labels The Infamous ‘Pepe The Frog’ Meme As A Hate Symbol

Pepe the Frog was once a relatively harmless Internet institution. But following Donald Trump’s tweeting of the meme in October 2015, the Alt-Right movement reappropriated the meme for its own use. The floodgates have since opened, and the Anti-Defamation League has now added Pepe to its online database of hate symbols.

The character from the Boy’s Club comic was originally meant for a few good-natured LOLs, but the Alt-Right has used the character in derogatory ways that many consider to be offensive. (For a quick comparison, imagine the peeing Calvin bumper sticker, only with aggressive Alt-Right messages.) Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement that the group knows Pepe was once a happy-go-lucky meme but has been reconfigured to promote fringe beliefs alongside Donald Trump’s candidacy:

“Once again, racists and haters have taken a popular internet meme and twisted it for their own purposes of spreading bigotry and harassing users. 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.”

The ADL wasn’t the only group to condemn the reappropriation of the meme, as the Hillary Clinton campaign said the frog is a bit more “sinister” than you think. To believe this frog, used as a way to poke fun at someone’s bad day, is now considered a hate symbol is a reflection of our crazy political times.

(Via The Verge, The Daily Beast and the Hillary Clinton Campaign)