The internet trolls who turned Pepe the Frog into a racist, xenophobic hate symbol may be disappointed to hear a new claim about the cartoon character’s origins, courtesy of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ Infowars website.
Infowars’ attorneys claim in a court filing Thursday that Pepe the Frog creator Matt Furie based his character on a “strikingly similar” Argentine cartoon character named “El Sapo Pepe,” or “Pepe the Toad.”
That’s a new defense for Infowars against a copyright infringement lawsuit Furie filed over the site’s sales of a poster copying Pepe.
Infowars’ attorneys argue Pepe the Frog’s copyright protection could be severely limited if it is an “unauthorized derivative work” based on Pepe the Toad.
Louis Tompros, one of Furie’s attorneys, says his client had never heard of “El Sapo Pepe.”