Visual Culture

Artist scores victory over neo-Nazis as Daily Stormer website removes images of Pepe the frog.

Benjamin Sutton
Jul 12, 2018 10:10PM, via Motherboard

An image made by Alex Pardee to support the #SavePepe campaign. Courtesy of #SavePepe.

Pepe the frog may one day be free of the hateful associations that have plagued the reptilian stoner in recent years. Artist Matt Furie, the cartoon’s creator, has been petitioning and suing alt-right and neo-Nazi websites and social media platforms to remove any images featuring Pepe that constitute hate speech on the grounds that their unauthorized use of his character constitutes copyright infringement.

Now, Motherboard reports that images of the cartoon frog have all but disappeared from the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi and Holocaust-denying website run by white nationalist Andrew Anglin. Formerly there had been upwards of 40 articles on the site featuring images of Pepe; according to the Verge, there are just four left. Part of the difficulty in getting the images of Furie’s frog removed stems from the Daily Stormer’s server problems and a string of cyber attacks on the site.

“For reasons separate and apart from copyright infringement, [The Daily Stormer has] been rejected and shut down by a variety of different ISPs over time,” Louis Tompros, an intellectual property lawyer at WilmerHale, who is representing Furie pro bono, told Motherboard. “The problem was that they would be up and then their entire site will be down and move somewhere else and reorganize. The reason it takes us longer on this and some of the others is the day their website moves around a bunch.”

Another site Furie had gone after, Alex Jones’s Infowars, has stopped selling a poster depicting Pepe, President Trump, and members of his cabinet. However, other products featuring the cartoon frog—which Furie created in 2005, and later made one of the main characters in his Boy’s Club comic—and sporting hateful messages and slogans remain readily available on Amazon, as a recent report by the Action Center on Race and the Economy and the Partnership for Working Families showed.

“That’s what I call the whack-a-mole aspect of this work,” Tompros told Motherboard. “Amazon is great about taking those down when we notify them. We’ve used their process at least 10 to 15 times. We’re going through the process now of looking at all of the things identified in the report.”

Benjamin Sutton
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