Though he's been around since 2005, this year during the election, poor Pepe was co-opted by the alt-right—which is to say, the white nationalist movement, which is to say, neo-Nazis, which is to say, racists—in online memes. He was shared by people who modified his likeness in order to depict him as Donald Trump's running mate, and Donald Trump Jr. even shared an Instagram photo of Pepe as a cast member for The Deplorables.
Fantagraphics and Pepe's longtime fans would like very much to reclaim Pepe from hateful trolls using his image online.
Eric Reynolds, associate publisher of Fantagraphics Books, submitted a statement: "The true Pepe the Frog, as created by the human being and artist Matt Furie, is a peaceful cartoon amphibian who represents love, acceptance, and fun. (And getting stoned.) Both creator and creation reject the nihilism fueling Pepe's alt-right appropriators. Most media reports now routinely default to a narrow description of Pepe as a representation of white supremacy, ignoring the mellow, positive-vibed frog that he is in the hands of his creator, Matt Furie, within the pages of Furie's Boy's Club comics. The Anti-Defamation League joined forces with Furie in an effort to take back the popular internet meme from racists and use the frog's likeness as a force for good. It's time to reclaim Pepe as a symbol of positivity and togetherness, and to stand by Matt Furie. #savepepe"
So, save Pepe. Take his image, use this hashtag, and create a new meme—one that spreads love, tolerance, kindness, open-mindedness, happiness, joy, and laughter instead of hate.