Eric Hauser, author of The Adventures of Pepe and Pede, won't be keeping any of the meager profits reaped from his book. Hauser, a former Denton ISD assistant principal, released his book Aug. 1. Its themes and imagery — which include Pepe, a frog, and Pede, a centipede, draining the swamp and taking back their home, Wishington Farm, from a bearded alligator named Alkah — invoke memes used by the white nationalists. Earlier this month, Hauser told the Dallas Observer that the book was merely conservative and was not intended to be racist or anti-Islam.
Attorneys for Matt Furie, the illustrator who created Pepe the Frog, announced Monday that Furie and Hauser have reached a settlement over alleged copyright infringement. Hauser is required to give all profits from the book to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim rights advocacy group, according to a press release.
"As this action shows, Furie will aggressively enforce his intellectual property, using legal action if necessary, to end the misappropriation of Pepe the Frog in any way that espouses racism, white supremacy, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, Nazism, or any other form of hate," the release from the WilmerHale law firm said.
According to the Denton Record-Chronicle, Hauser, who was reassigned from his assistant principal post at Denton ISD's Rodriguez Middle School after the contents of his book became public, resigned from his job at the district last week.
Hauser, who did not immediately return a request for comment for this story, has said that the white supremacist label has been attached to Pepe in order to make conservatives stay quiet about their beliefs.
"I'm not concerned with using those characters because there is nothing wrong with those characters. They're not bad characters," he told the Observer on Aug. 10. "I disagree with the [alt-right or white supremacist] label. I think that label was put on Pepe in an attempt to silence conservatives. They put that label on Pepe in an attempt to silence them when that's not what Pepe was about."
As Donald Trump's candidacy picked up steam last year, Pepe, originally an all-purpose meme popular on 4Chan, became a symbol of the racist, Trump-supporting corners of the internet. On Reddit's raucous page dedicated to Trump, the president's most devoted followers refer to themselves as centipedes.
As of Thursday night, The Adventures of Pepe and Pede was no longer for sale on Amazon.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.