Pepe the Frog

Pepe the Frog

Infowars was forced to pay $15,000 in a settlement to the creator of Pepe the Frog, a cartoon amphibian who had been co-opted as a meme by right-wing internet users, after selling a poster that featured the character on its website.

Pepe's creator, Matt Furie, had brought a copyright lawsuit against Alex Jones' website after it began selling posters that featured Pepe alongside personalities such as Milo Yiannopoulos, Roger Stone and Diamond and Silk. The victory is another step in Furie's legal battle to reclaim his character from commercial uses that he finds objectionable.

Louis Tompros, a Boston-based lawyer who represented Furie, said that the artist was happy with the outcome of the Infowars settlement.

"From (Furie's) perspective, the goal of this was not really about making money and certainly not about going after Alex Jones," Tompros told The Washington Post. "The goal is to make sure the use of Pepe in association with hateful images and ideas stops, and if anybody thinks they're going to make any money by selling Pepe hate merchandise, they won't."

Furie created Pepe the Frog in the mid-2000s and intended for his creation to be a "'peaceful frog-dude' - a kind and blissful cartoon character, who lived alongside three animal roommates," according to the initial complaint against Infowars. Pepe made his debut in the "Boys Club" comics and, by 2014, had taken on a second life as a meme.

But as the 2016 presidential election unfolded, some internet users began deploying the "peaceful frog dude" for less-than-wholesome purposes. Pepe the Frog's likeness was used in Nazi and white supremacist memes that proliferated across social media and the darker corners of the internet. Donald Trump's fans also turned Pepe into an unofficial internet mascot for the campaign, and in September 2016 Anti-Defamation League added Pepe to its list of "hate symbols."