Over the past few weeks there have been a number of reports indicating that the Overwatch League is cracking down on the use of the Pepe the Frog meme. Signs featuring the famous frog (or perhaps “infamous” is a better word these days) were removed from the audience during Overwatch League matches, and Overwatch players have been asked to remove social media posts with Pepe.
Pepe began his life as a comic character created by artist Matt Furie, but he quickly became far more recognized as a popular meme. When versions of that meme came into frequent use in Neo Nazi circles it was branded as a hate symbol by the Anti-Defamation League, and many organizations have been quick to distance themselves from its use.
Following these reports, the Overwatch League has issued an official statement, confirming their opposition to any use of Pepe.
“The Overwatch League discourages the use of symbols and imagery which are associated with or used by hate groups, including Pepe the Frog. At Blizzard Arena, it’s our policy that fan signs comply with this policy. We likewise ask the same of Overwatch League teams and players on their social-media channels.” — Overwatch League
Since Pepe became such a controversial character, creator Matt Furie has lamented its use for racist purposes. He even went so far as to kill Pepe off in a comic strip last year, although he has since announced plans to bring him back.
Source: Cog Connected