Charlottesville brought unprecedented scrutiny to the internet far-right, driving a wedge between explicitly racist and anti-Semitic elements and more moderate elements of the pro-Trump internet.
Now, in a sign of how fractured the internet far right has become, the white nationalist ones have picked up a new cartoon frog to rival far-right icon Pepe the Frog.
A lot of Americans have become familiar with Pepe, the frog cartoon mascot beloved of internet Trump supporters and, frequently, anti-Semites and racists.
But as Pepe has grown in popularity in other corners of the internet — including, worst of all for 4Chan users, with more “normie” Trump supporters on Reddit — internet white nationalists have opted for an amphibian mascot all their own.
Meet Groyper, a toad cartoon who’s just like Pepe, but his hands are folded under his chin and he’s naked sometimes.
Groyper is used nearly exclusively on 4Chan, Twitter rival Gab and the darkest far-right parts of Twitter. But he’s become exceedingly popular in that niche, with many of the internet’s worst people now styling their handles after the frog and featuring Groyper avatars.
When the head of white nationalist group Identity Europa announced his resignation this week, the reaction on Gab focused as much on his custom Groyper illustration as it did on the news itself.
Like Pepe, there are Groyper variants to go with other various obsessions on the far-right. There’s a Trump groyper…
And an Augusto Pinochet “helicopter rides” Groyper.
Former wrestler Hulk Hogan even tweeted out a Groyper version of himself, sparking delight in the Groyper-enthusiast community.
The origins of Groyper’s name remain unclear to me, as does the explanation for why Australian 4Chan users call him “Easter Toad” instead. But I can tell you that, almost exclusively, Groyper fans are pretty bad!
I asked one prominent Twitter white nationalist to explain the difference between Groyper and Pepe.
“Groypers like to relax and drink tea,” he wrote. “Groypers are all WWII revisionists in the sheets but proper and almost non offensive in the streets. They show a bit more class.”
In other words: Pepe went mainstream, so the alt right got something even more inscrutable to replace him.
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