Pepe the Frog was a comics character created by Matt Furie in 2005 that was appropriated for other purposes across the Internet later on, and eventually became associated with racism, white nationalism, and the alt-right.
Furie has always denounced the connection between his creation and any type of racial prejudice, and he issued a statement in 2016 saying, per Engadget, “as the creator of Pepe, I condemn the illegal and repulsive appropriations of the character by racist and fringe groups.” He went on to urge fans of the character to “reclaim the rascally frog from the forces of hate” and create new memes featuring Pepe.
Now, Furie has gained some measure of justice.
Per The Daily Beast, the creator of Pepe has reached a settlement with Alex Jones’ organization, InfoWars, in which InfoWars agreed to pay Furie $15,000, while also promising to never use the Pepe likeness again.
Furie had originally sued InfoWars for selling posters that included Pepe alongside Trump, as well as Matt Drudge, Kellyanne Conway, Diamond and Silk, Roger Stone, Milo Yiannopoulos, and others. The $15,000 figure came from the $14,000 the company made from selling the posters, plus an additional $1,000. InfoWars also agreed to destroy all remaining copies of the poster.
Furie also announced that he was donating the $1,000 to Save the Frogs, described as an amphibian conservation group.
A news article on InfoWars referred to the settlement as a “strategic victory,” and stated that they had agreed to pay a “tiny settlement.”
Part of the InfoWars/Pepe the Frog settlement will go to fund conservation efforts for frogs. https://t.co/ycCo3cSmnh
— Will Sommer (@willsommer) June 10, 2019
“The corporate press will undoubtedly frame this as a victory for Furie. It wasn’t. The result clearly represents a strategic victory for Alex Jones,” the article said. It went on to say that Furie was represented by “Hillary Clinton’s law firm”; Furie’s lawyer, Louis Tompros, took on the case pro bono. He’s part of a firm, WilmerHale, of which two members, Jeannie Rhee and Jamie Gorelick, once represented Clinton in a lawsuit related to the Clinton Foundation, per Factcheck. Robert Mueller, the special counsel, also worked for a time at WilmerHale.
Furie had announced in 2017, per The Inquisitr, that he was “killing off” the Pepe character, even drawing a cartoon featuring Pepe lying in an open casket.
There is another high-profile lawsuit still pending against Alex Jones, from a group of Sandy Hook families who claim they were defamed by the host, who has propagated various baseless conspiracy theories about the 2012 school shooting in the years since. Per CNN, Jones is expected to be deposed in the case in early July.