So Long Pepe

Camille Botello, Staff Writer/ Online Production

One of the most popular internet memes of our time, Pepe the Frog, has been laid to rest after its association with racism and anti-Semitism.

But how did this even happen? Pepe was always known as a “chill frog-dude,” according to his creator Matt Furie.

Pepe first appeared in one of Furie’s comics called the “Boy’s Club” in 2006, and has since slowly gained popularity on the internet. At first, some people photoshopped his smile into a frown and added tears to his eyes, but it escalated when it was taken by the “alt-right” movement, which is “loosely connected brand of white nationalism, neo-Nazism and anti-immigration,” according to a CBS article. In September of 2016, the Anti-Defamation League deemed the popular meme as a hate symbol.

When Linfield introduced the campus to its “free speech” ball last month, in which students were encouraged to write or draw whatever was on their mind, someone drew Pepe. This caused a ruckus on campus and left many students wondering if there were hate groups among us, and left others concerned with their fundamental right to the freedom of speech.

Whatever perceptions people have of Pepe now, however, won’t change the fact that he is deceased. His creator drew Pepe laying in a casket while his loved ones grief and say “here’s to you ‘lil buddy!” before pouring what appears to be alcohol on his corpse.

“Before he got wrapped up in politics, Pepe was an inside-joke and a symbol for feeling sad or feeling good and many things in between. I understand that it’s out of my control, but in the end, Pepe is whatever you say he is, and I, the creator, say that Pepe is love,” said Furie before he killed off his cartoon.