InfoWars to pay Pepe cartoon creator $15,000

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Pepe the Frog
Image caption The cartoon’s creator did not give approval for Pepe to be used in the poster

Website InfoWars has agreed to pay the creator of cartoon character Pepe the Frog $15,000 (£11,763) over copyright infringement.

Pepe the Frog was used on a poster sold on InfoWars’ website during the 2016 presidential campaign.

The cartoon’s creator Matt Furie says he did not give approval for the image to be used.

Pepe was added to the Anti-Defamation League’s database of hate symbols in 2016.

InfoWars owner Alex Jones agreed the settlement on Monday.

According to the lawsuit, the “Make America Great Again” poster was sold for $17.76 and featured an image of Pepe the Frog alongside Donald Trump and Alex Jones.

Pepe made his debut in 2005 in Mr Furie’s “Boy’s Club” cartoons. Since then, pictures have spread through online communities such as 4chan and Reddit. Some racist and anti-Semitic versions have spread virally on Facebook and Twitter.

He has been depicted as Adolf Hitler and a member of the white supremacist KKK.

Mr Furie said he was “dismayed” by Pepe’s association with white supremacy, anti-Semitism and the alt-right.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The poster featured an image of Pepe the Frog alongside InfoWars owner Alex Jones

The lawsuit said that Mr Furie has “worked hard to counteract” the frog’s negative associations. He has collaborated with the Anti-Defamation League on a #SavePepe campaign to restore Pepe as a character representing peace.

In a statement, the law firm representing Mr Furie said: “If anyone thinks they can make money selling unauthorised Pepe merchandise, they’re wrong. Mr Furie will continue to enforce his copyrights, particularly against anyone trying to profit by associating Pepe with hateful images or ideas.”

Last year, Twitter confirmed that it had permanently suspended the accounts of Alex Jones and his InfoWars website.

InfoWars has also had accounts removed from Youtube and Facebook.

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