No fake news here — Alex Jones’ InfoWars is being sued by the creator of inadvertent alt-right mascot, Pepe the Frog.
Cartoonist Matt Furie filed suit against conspiracy theorist Jones’ InfoWars on Monday, alleging that his amphibian creation was used without his authorization.
“Artist Matt Furie created the Pepe the Frog character in the early 2000s. Pepe is an anthropomorphic frog often depicted with large, rounded, red/brown lips, bulging eyes (often with multiple white stars in the pupil), puffy eyelids, and a human-shaped body,” the suit, filed in federal court in California, reads. “At his creation, Pepe was a ‘peaceful frog-dude’ — a kind and blissful cartoon character, who lived alongside three animal roommates, and became famous in part because of his catchphrase, ‘feels good man.’”
However, the suit notes, in 2015, factions associated with the alt-right attempted to co-opt Pepe “with the image of hate, including white supremacist language and symbols, Nazi symbols, and other offensive imagery.”
At specific issue in Monday’s suit is a poster (see image at left) which Furie says is being sold by InfoWars “that contains a copy of Pepe the Frog, featured alongside an image of InfoWars founder Alex Jones, President Donald Trump, Milo Yiannopoulos, and Ann Coulter, among other figures, with the text ‘MAGA’ — short for the Trump campaign slogan, ‘Make America Great Again’ — printed on the bottom:”
“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,” the suit asserts.
The suit, which alleges copyright infringement, is asking for an injunction preventing InfoWars from infringing on Furie’s copyright, as well as unspecified damages.
In a statement to TheWrap, Jones called the lawsuit “nothing but a PR stunt.”
“It is our researched view, that this lawsuit is nothing but a PR stunt. The poster that we’ve been selling is the work of an artist, showing iconic images from the 2016 campaign, and thus, is protected speech,” Jones said. “But beyond that, the suit claims that we have produced the poster, when all Infowars Store is, is a reseller of the poster. And that is why, in our researched view, the lawsuit appears as nothing more than a publicity stunt, so that my name could be attached to the alt-right, and the person filing the lawsuit can talk about how they are distancing themselves from extremism that Infowars has nothing to do to begin with. So it is just that, a publicity stunt.”
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.