We’ve reached peak absurdity. The Anti-Defamation League have labeled anti-Semite and Nazi depictions of Pepe the Frog as hate speech.
“[…] because so many Pepe the Frog memes are not bigoted in nature, it is important to examine use of the meme only in context. The mere fact of posting a Pepe meme does not mean that someone is racist or white supremacist. 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.”
They provided examples of Pepe being a symbol of hate, with the following collage of images below.
The media have been waging a war on memes since their open onslaught against gamers in 2014. The ridiculousness of the matter reached new heights of inanity when Hillary Clinton’s campaign began targeting Pepe the frog after the media created a narrative that Pepe represented white supremacy.
The reality is that as a meme anything can mean anything. If trolls wanted, they could associate the CNN symbol or the Gizmodo symbol or PBS with white supremacy. I would be interested in seeing if enough images of Big Bird in a Nazi SS uniform went viral would they also add Big Bird to the ADL database as a symbol of hate?
Pepe has been around for more than a decade and has been depicted in all sorts of imagery created by any and everyone on the internet. His addition to the ADL’s database comes after the media began reporting that Pepe the frog was a symbol of hate and associated with Donald Trump after he appeared in a meme that was retweeted by Trump’s son. The image that was retweeted is pictured above. The image came about after Hillary Clinton labeled Trump supporters as a “basket” of “deplorables”. Following the image, the media have been on a non-stop narrative barrage claiming that Pepe is racist.
It’s at least wise of the ADL to point out that anyone can make imagery of a meme, but if they’re going to add Pepe to the database then they’ll need to add every other meme that has been used with nefarious purposes to the database.