How two Twitter pranksters convinced the world a frog meme is code for white nationalism

Pepe the green frog meme’s unprecedented rise into pop culture came amid hysteria that the Internet cartoon is little more than a stand-in for white nationalism. But it turns out the original story that prompted the panic is more or less a troll job.

The Daily Beast’s Olivia Nuzzi wrote a piece in May striving to describe and trace the genesis of Pepe in the alt-right scene, a nascent, illiberal political movement focused on preserving white identity and Western civilization. In the process, Nuzzi just ended up repeating various made-up stories from the only two people she interviewed from “Frog Twitter”: Paul Town (@PaulTown_) and Jared Taylor Swift (@JaredTSwift).

Frog Twitter is an offshoot, alt-right subculture primarily interested in memes, aesthetics, and trolling political figures.

Since then, Pepe as white nationalist has become a meme of its own sort, circulated through liberal circles, cable networks, and think pieces. Rounding out this tidal wave of whinery, Pepe made an appearance on Hillary Clinton’s own campaign site as part of an effort by the campaign to link Donald Trump, Jr. to white supremacy.

The explainer on Clinton’s site features a direct quote from Jared Taylor Swift, one of the two accounts Nuzzi interview for her story.

“[I]n recent months, Pepe’s been almost entirely co-opted by the white supremacists who call themselves the ‘alt-right.’

Read the rest at: Green Frog

 

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