Matt Furie, the artist behind the internet famous cartoon Pepe the Frog, is suing Alex Jones, founder of the alt-right conspiracy theory website InfoWars.
While Pepe had long been a popular meme online, the character was co-opted by the alt-right during the 2016 election and images of him quickly became some of the most frequently used among racist, sexist, homophobic trolls on social media.
InfoWars similarly jumped on the bandwagon and included Pepe on a poster displaying the “heroes of the 2016 anti-establishment revolution” which was sold on the website’s shop for $29.95. This was done without Furie’s permission, and it is the basis of the current lawsuit.
“Furie did not authorize the use of the Pepe image or character in this poster, and does not approve of the association of Pepe with Alex Jones or any of the other figures shown in this poster, or with the ‘MAGA’ slogan,” read the artist’s complaint.
Jones responded to the lawsuit by claiming his free speech was being attacked and insisting that the poster was a form of political speech protected by the Constitution.
“My listeners understand this is all frivolous,” Jones said. “We don’t have any choice but to fight back, and the law is on our side.”
He added, “I think the frog is stupid looking. I think it’s a dumb meme.”