Pepe the Frog is rescued from the alt-Reich

I don’t know if you’re as up on the Pepe the Frog thing as I am.

Well, until today’s Publisher’s Marketplace, I had no idea where Pepe the Frog came from, but I had a Twitter-educated idea of what it was: a stupid cartoon frog face that, for reasons beyond my capacity to reason, has become the Frog Face of the neo-Nazi alt-Reich.

Why? Who the hell knows. But the frog face appears in tweets from those crazy people, so clearly it has some significance to them. (Why would the alt-Reich pick a FROG as a symbol of their “movement”? I could go crazy myself trying to analyze this so…never mind.)

Scariest mention in this item is Eric Hauser, the white supremacist ripper-offer of Pepe the Frog, “was an assistant principal at a Denton, TX middle school [until] school district officials ‘removed him from his post amid the controversy…'”

Send those kids to PTSD therapy immediately!

So there’s this:

Lawyers Free Pepe the Frog From Alt-Right Merchandising

Attorneys Louis Tompros and Don Steinberg at WilmerHale, working pro bono, have helped creator Matt Furie save his Pepe the Frog comic character — he publishes with Fantagraphics — from “misappropriation [that] in any way that espouses racism, white supremacy, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, Nazism, or any other form of hate.” In the process, they have quashed the planned release in November by Post Hill Press of the infringing self-published book The Adventures of Pepe and Pede by Eric Hauser.

The lawyers say in a press release that Hauser “admitted” to copyright infringement, and they “were able to negotiate [settlement] over the course of just a few days.” He’ll turn over his self-published profits of just over $1,500, which will be donated to the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Tompros said they were unable to contact Post Hill Press directly, which had said in an August 14 email to Motherboard that they would republish in November, writing, “We do know that some are trying to make Pepe and Pede controversial, but we do not consider it to be…we find that concern completely unfounded. It’s unfortunate that an educator who has written a book that uplifts the virtues of truth and honesty has received such scrutiny.”

Hauser, who was an assistant principal at a Denton, TX middle school school district officials “removed him from his post amid the controversy,” had insisted previously to the Dallas News that he “knew Pepe as a conservative meme, he said, not a white supremacist one.”

More broadly, the attorneys note in their statement, “Furie wants one thing to be clear: Pepe the Frog does not belong to the alt-right. As this action shows, Furie will aggressively enforce his intellectual property, using legal action if necessary…. He will make sure that no one profits by using Pepe in alt-right propaganda—and particularly not by targeting children.”

AUTHORITATIVE REPORT 8/31/2017.  Pepe the Frog Cartoonist Stops Distribution of Children’s Book – The New York Times

Which I read. But what I still don’t get is why Eric Hauser would, uh, borrow? seize? Pepe the Frog as an alt-Reich statement.

Why the fuck didn’t he just invent some cartoon of his own? Possible answer: because he doesn’t have a modicum of ability.

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