Matt Furie is resurrecting Pepe, after unceremoniously killing him off in his comic book Boy’s Club. Furie wanted to distance himself from the goofy green frog after 4chan trolls used Pepe for dark purposes, like photoshopping him into Nazi uniforms while operating concentration camp ovens.
The trolling got so bad/effective that Hillary Clinton’s campaign publicly denounced Pepe and the frog was classified a hate symbol by the Anti-Defamation League. Throughout the whole ordeal, Furie has been trying various methods to wrestle control of Pepe from right-wing trolls, but that’s just never going to happen.
“This is an effort to rebrand Pepe the Frog as a symbol of love, peace and acceptance,” Furie wrote on the Kickstarter page.
Once the funds are raised, Furie will begin production of the new, not anti-Semitic Pepe comic.
Furie continues his Sisyphean task of removing the hateful connotations of Pepe, something the Internet will never allow. Pepe has been out of Furie’s control for years. Before Pepe was a hate symbol, he was a hugely popular meme that most people used without any knowledge of the Boy’s Club origins.
Ironically, Furie was named one of the 25 most influential people on the Internet by Time this year, despite the fact his influence on the destiny of his creations is nil.
Pepe is already being repurposed on the Internet, outside of Furie’s hands. The “Kekistani” movement uses Pepe as a symbol without explicit racist or anti-Semitic imagery. Pepe is still a symbol of the right, anti-political correctness and free speech, but has seemed to have lost many of the hateful Nazi connotations he once had.
There’s a popular Internet law called the Streisand Effect, where the harder you try to remove something from the Internet, the more it will spread.
Furie is developing his own Streisand Effect. The harder he tries to remove the dark political connotations of Pepe, the more political and estranged Pepe will become. Perhaps if Furie truly loves Pepe… he should set him free.