Etsy Is Slowly But Surely Deleting Pepe The Frog From Its Stores
The smiling frog that started as a meme was adopted by white supremacists in the lead up to the US federal election.
Etsy – the online marketplace for all things twee and homemade – is clamping down on items featuring Pepe the Frog.
The smiling cartoon frog was adopted by neo-Nazis and "alt-right" extremists in the lead-up to Donald Trump's victory in the US federal election. In September, the Anti-Defamation League added the frog to its online hate symbols database.
The use of Pepe by Donald Trump supporters even prompted Hillary Clinton's staff to write an explainer for her followers during the election campaign.
"In recent months, Pepe’s been almost entirely co-opted by the white supremacists who call themselves the 'alt-right.' They’ve decided to take back Pepe by adding swastikas and other symbols of anti-semitism and white supremacy," it reads.
An Etsy storeholder who had two of her printed Pepe the Frog badges removed from her store told BuzzFeed News she had noticed that her listing was still visible, but customers weren't able to click on it.
"I've seen a lot about white supremacists taking the meme and branding it as their own over the past few months," she said. "I kinda have no desire to [contact Etsy about it] though because I was discontinuing the badges for the same reason."
A spokesperson for Etsy told BuzzFeed News it was making a distinction between use of the generic meme, or use of it as an image that "promotes, supports, or glorifies hatred toward protected groups." Those that fall into the latter category are prohibited.