Matt Furie's quest to reclaim Pepe the Frog from neo-Nazis and the alt-right has found a new target: neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer.
Furie and his team of pro-bono lawyers at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP have been sending Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown notices to the service providers who host The Daily Stormer, though it hasn't been easy. The site has been continuously changing servers since it was dropped by its previous web and domain hosts following the Charlottesville white supremacist protest, which resulted in the murder of Heather Heyer by one of those protesting in favor of Naziism.
According to Motherboard, all but four of the 40 articles on The Daily Stormer which featured Pepe have been removed or altered to censor the image of the carefree frog.
In a previous lawsuit, Furie's lawyers outlined the premise of their legal action, referring to Pepe, who Furie created as part of the comic book Boy's Club in 2005, as "a peaceful frog dude — a kind and blissful cartoon character, who lived alongside three animal roommates, and became famous in part because of his catchphrase, 'feels good man.'" However, beginning in 2015, "various fringe groups connected with the alt-right attempted to co-opt Pepe by mixing images of Pepe with images of hate, including white supremacist language and symbols, Nazi symbols, and other offensive imagery." Now, Furie wants to use intellectual property law to reclaim Pepe from the Nazis.
Last September, Furie announced plans to reclaim Pepe the Frog through legal actions, a course of action he appears to be following through on, though his quest to regain control of the frog had already been ongoing. Furie previously spoke out against the character's misappropriation and even killed Pepe off in a Free Comic Book Day comic. But he later had a change of heart, using Kickstarter to bring the frog back from the dead, asking the Anti-Defamation League to remove Pepe from its list of hate symbols, and even selling some nice enamel pins featuring the character.
In March of 2018, Furie and his lawyers targeted Alex Jones's Infowars, which was selling merchandise featuring Pepe's image. Furie also successfully sued the author of a children's book using Pepe's image to espouse alt-right ideas, diverting the book's profits to a Muslim charity.