Matt Furie Wants To Stop The Internet From Using Pepe As “Hate Speech”

It’s another sad day for our green meme friend Pepe. The creator, Matt Furie, wants to stop the Internet from using the green frog as “hate speech” and other things that trigger people by starting a Kickstarter campaign that will see the “revival” of a family friendly Pepe, while Furie works with a lawyer to protect the character after he re-debuts.

Catching wind from publication site cuck-net or Cnet‘s most recent article, the creator of Pepe or Matt Furie, wants to bring the pot-and-pizza-loving life of Pepe back by using a Kickstarter campaign to reclaim his status as “a universal symbol for peace, love and acceptance.” Already the Kickstarter campaign, which started on June 26th, has pulled in its $10,000 goal and only has 10 days left (as of this writing) before it ends.

Furthermore, Furie noted that he lost licensing deals as the “brouhaha” over Pepe rose in the past, and now he is working with a lawyer to protect the character after he re-debuts Pepe. Additionally, Furie doesn’t want the Internet modifying his work for “hateful purposes.”

One of the many reasons why Furie is pushing to “clean up Pepe’s image” is due to the Anti-Defamation League doing a piss poor job of researching the matter revolving around Pepe the frog and listed the imaginary character in the database of “hate symbols,” placing the cartoon frog on the same page as the SS Lightning bolts and the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NDA) or National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NAZI).

According to the site, after the  ADL listed Pepe as a hate symbol due to his depiction by others and not by the creator, Furie’s editor, Eric Reynolds of Fantagraphics Books, said the character’s hijacking had been something difficult for the artist to deal with. Reynolds also said that it was really hard on Furie after what the ADL had done and thought that he would always be associated with a hate symbol.

You can read what Furie wants to do with Pepe as of this moment via the Kickstarter campaign page, as listed below.

“Before Pepe the Frog was a meme designated a hate symbol by the Anti-Defamation League, he began his life as a blissfully stoned frog in my comic book Boy’s Club where he enjoyed a simple life of snacks, soda and pulling his pants all the way down to go pee. Boy’s Club debuted in 2006, Pepe became a meme around 2010, then stuck around the internet long enough to become an institutionally recognized hate mascot. Needless to say it’s a nightmare so I killed him off. But now I’d like to bring him back, and I’d like to ask your help in funding a new zine celebrating a resurrected Pepe, one that shall shine a light in all this darkness and feel good again.”

Seeing that they, the ADL, screwed up, the group backtracked and removed Pepe from the database of hate symbols due to Furie requesting that they pull it due to his copyright-protection, which should have been reviewed before the ADL made their juvenile move.

Although it would seem like Furie would be more mad at the ADL for doing a bad job, instead he is now working with the group and started the hashtag (featured on the Kickstarter page) #SavePepe. It seems that he is more disturbed by everyday people than the ADL, which is present in an interview that Cnet picked up:

“There’s something about interacting with a screen rather than actual humans in a room that’s really dehumanizing,” Furie said in an interview. “There is something about the anonymity of the internet that gives people the ability to express these darker interests.”

Something I want to say about this whole thing is that just because a group of people or individuals use your work (or in this case a fictional character) to bolster a purpose or plan, it doesn’t mean that that is what the character actually represents. In other words, keep doing what you like to do whether it be drawing or whatever, don’t let other people’s perception block your creative ability.

Lastly, what does this all mean? Well, seeing that Furie is working with a lawyer to protect the character after he re-debuts, it could mean censorship going abroad openly or secretly when the #SavePepe Kickstarter campaign ends surrounding the use of Pepe on the Interwebs, much like on Furie’s Kickstarter campaign that sees “specific” comments disappearing.

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