Pepe the Frog creator Matt Furie has won his lawsuit against Infowars and its host Alex Jones. As part of the settlement, Infowars must shell out $15,000.
"From [Furie's] perspective, the goal of this was not really about making money and certainly not about going after Alex Jones," Furie's lawyer Louis 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."
In the lawsuit, Furie pursued the profits Infowars earned from selling the poster, which was estimated to be about $14,000. Infowars avoided going to trial by settling with Furie. The settlement added an extra $1,000 to the total and requires Infowars to destroy all remaining copies of the poster.
Nevertheless, Infowars claimed victory in a statement from lawyer Robert Barnes: "Happy to announce the folks suing Infowars over Pepe the Frog have agreed to settle, and accept a licensing fee of $15,000." Additionally, Barnes claimed Furie wanted "millions" out of the lawsuit, which Tompros denied.
According to the original complaint, "beginning in 2015, various fringe groups connected with the alt-right attempted to co-opt Pepe by mixing images of Pepe with images of hate, including white supremacist language and symbols, Nazi symbols, and other offensive imagery."
The lawsuit specifically cited a poster that pictures Pepe in the company of President Donald Trump, InfoWars founder Alex Jones, Ann Coulter, Roger Stone, Matt Drudge and Milo Yiannopoulous (among others) and the text "MAGA," which refers to Trump's presidential campaign slogan. Furie claims that InfoWars is selling this poster in its online store, though he did not authorize such use of the character.
Before becoming a wide-spread meme, Pepe the Frog was originally envisioned as a laid-back amphibian that says, "Feels good, man." Furie's previous efforts to extricate Pepe the Frog from the alt-right and other extremist groups have included working with the Anti-Defamation League on a #SavePepe campaign, but these efforts have not yielded success.
"Ultimately, I hope Pepe will live on as a symbol of peacefulness and of being a cool, chill frog that kids like to share with each other on the Internet," Furie told The Post.