In 2006 Matt Furie introduced a "blissfully stoned frog" named Pepe in a comic book called Boy's Club. But in recent years Pepe got appropriated by the alt-right as a racist icon, prompting the Anti-Defamation League to designate Pepe as a hate symbol.
Furie has hired intellectual property lawyers to defend his creation against misuse by racists, and he is winning. His latest victory is against Eric Hauser, author of an Islamophobic book for kids called Adventures of Pepe and Pede, which has a villainous bearded alligator named Alkah, and a place called Kek Cliff.
Matt Furie, the creator of Pepe the Frog, struck back against a self-published children's book that depicted Pepe as an Islamophobic, alt-right champion on a mission to make his farm great again.
Thanks to Louis Tompros and Don Steinberg — intellectual property lawyers at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP — Furie has reached a settlement with The Adventures of Pepe and Pede author Eric Hauser. That settlement prevents further sale of the book and forces Hauser to donate all profits to a Muslim-American advocacy group.
Hauser will donate the $1,521.54 in profits from the book to the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
"As this action shows, 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," a release from the WilmerHale law firm said.Hauser (right) was an assistant principal at a North Texas middle school, until Denton Independent School District officials found out about the book and removed him from that position. According to the Dallas News, Hauser "will be reassigned to a yet-to-be-determined role that will not involve being a campus administrator or educator, the district said."
From The Dallas News:
Several people have taken to social media to debate about the book. One called it "anti-Muslim," while others said it'd be a big leap to link it to white supremacy.
"I think people will take that and then just assume negative, just assume bad things," Hauser said. "That's unfortunate. I hate that."
Instead, Hauser said he hopes people appreciate the story and insisted that he didn't intend to upset anyone.
Hauser said he doesn't align with the alt-right "at all" and said chose Pepe because he's a "funny," "lovable character." The same goes for Pede, he said, which is short for centipede.
Some supporters of President Donald Trump call themselves centipedes.
Kat Ralph of Denton, TX started a petition demanding that the district fire Hauser.