Before Pepe the Frog was a hate symbol used to promote white supremacists and Donald Trump, he was a sweet webcomics character in Matt Furie's gently weird webcomic Boy's Club.
In an interview with the Recommend if You Like podcast (MP3), Furie describes the experience of having his art hijacked by a basket of deplorables.
But after years of bizarre and benign appearances on body building forums and Kim Kardashian's Twitter feed, the stoned frog character seemingly, suddenly took a strange turn, embraced by some of the internet's darkest recesses. Over the past several weeks, Pepe was reference by presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, highlighted on the Rachel Maddow Show and, as of yesterday, designated as a symbol of hate by the Anti-Defamation League.
Suddenly, the artist's phone start ringing off the hook with dozens of calls from journalists asking Furie to defend his benign cartoon creation. Sure most artists would kill for a moment in the national spotlight, but practically overnight the cartoonist was in the incredibly unenviable position of having his name and creation linked with online hate groups.
Episode 187: Matt Furie (Bonus) [Recommend if You Like]