It can be hard to go online, especially on social media, and not see Pepe the Frog. For many years, the meme was amusing and innocuous. However, as all things on the internet go, things turned sour. Recent uses have seen the smirking frog transformed into racist characters and history's villains like Adolf Hitler. Now, the Anti-Defamation League is fighting back. against him.
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"Once again, racists and haters have taken a popular Internet meme and twisted it for their own purposes of spreading bigotry and harassing users," Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO said in a statement. "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 designation doesn't apply to all Pepe memes, but it is likely that you'll know the bad ones when you see them.
Pepe first appeared in artist Matt Furie's "Boy's Club" cartoons.
Slowly, his bemused smirk became a symbol for so much on the internet. Nearly a decade later,
You can still use the meme, as long as you think about it first. "The mere fact of posting a Pepe meme does not mean that someone is racist or white supremacist," the group said.
"However, if the meme itself is racist or anti-Semitic in nature, or if it appears in a context containing bigoted or offensive language or symbols, then it may have been used for hateful purposes."