The history of Pepe the Frog is a long and complicated one, and we're not going to delve into it here – however, this recent example is a good way to show the level of ridiculousness surrounding this cartoon-turned-meme-turned-neo Nazi symbol.
Back in May, Pepe the Frog's creator, cartoonist Matt Furie, ran a social campaign trying to salvage his once peace-loving amphibian from the clutches of white supremacists and Trump supporters. Despite his attempts to #SavePepe, alt-right continued to use the frog as their token for xenophobia, at which point Furie announced he is killing off Pepe altogether.
However, at that point, the spread of Pepe the Frog was pretty much unstoppable with even brands like ZARA knocking off the design. Hopping on this bandwagon was educator Eric Hauser with his children-oriented book The Adventures of Pepe and Pede.
The Adventures of Pepe and Pede, illustrated by Nina Khalova, might seem like an innocent children's book about two friends – Pepe the frog and Pede the centipede. According to the book's description on Amazon, the two buddies "unite as one to restore law and order, and bring freedom back to Wishington Farm!"
"Join these two brave friends as they use truth and honesty to battle the deceitful forces threatening their home.
In this allegorical children’s tale, kids will find an exciting battle of good vs. evil and adults will find clever parallels to the conflict between truth and ignorance that faces America’s leaders."
Teaching kids about politics and nation's underlying values through friendly characters wouldn't be so bad if they wouldn't eventually turn out to be Islamophobic members of the alt-right. According to the Dallas Observer, Pepe and Pede go on a mission to drain a swamp and take back their home from a "bearded alligator named Alkah" his henchmen "pink creatures covered in mud that look similar to women in burqas."
Despite Hauser claiming that the book was not meant to be anti-Islam or perpetuate xenophobia, the creator of Pepe the Frog was not happy to know his cartoon is being used to perpetuate hate and discrimination.
Working with his lawyers, Furie sued and reached a settlement with The Adventures of Pepe and Pede author. The settlement now forbids any future sales of the book and directs Hauser to donate all of the profits he's gained from selling it (only a little bit over $1,500) to a Muslim-American advocacy group. As per Furie's attorney:
"Furie wants one thing to be clear: Pepe the Frog does not belong to the alt-right. [...]
Furie will aggressively enforce his intellectual property, using legal action if necessary, to end the misappropriation of Pepe the Frog in any way that espouses racism, white supremacy, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, Nazism, or any other form of hate."
So there you have it. As for Hauser, he immediately admitted to have infringed Furie's copyrights by copying the frog, however, he does not think it was wrong to use a character that has been associated with alt-right and white supremacist movies.