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Pepe croaks: Cartoonist kills off frog turned hate symbol

Associated Press logo Associated Press 5/9/2017 By MICHAEL KUNZELMAN, Associated Press

The cartoonist who created Pepe the Frog has killed off the character in a rebuke to far-right extremists who transformed a benevolent internet meme into a racist, anti-Semitic symbol.

A Pepe cartoon published Saturday shows Matt Furie's creation in an open casket. Furie didn't immediately respond to an email seeking comment Monday.

Furie has described Pepe as "chill frog-dude" who debuted in a 2006 comic book and became a popular online subject for user-generated mutations.

But internet trolls hijacked the character and began flooding social media with hateful Pepe memes more than a year before the 2016 presidential election.

Pepe memes promoting Donald Trump's presidential campaign became so ubiquitous that Trump himself tweeted an image blending his likeness with Pepe.

The Anti-Defamation League promoted Furie's efforts to reclaim the character.

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