Pepe the Frog is persona non grata at Apple. The cartoon stoner amphibian, adopted as a mascot by the alt-right, is not so much deplorable as he is “objectionable” by Apple standards, and the company has rejected a new game app featuring Pepe.
“Pepe Scream,” developed by Spirit Realm Games, is a kind of “Flappy Bird” game in which users control Pepe by screaming into the phone. The game doesn’t appear to be an issue — only the use of Pepe.
“Your app contains images and references of Pepe the Frog, which are considered objectionable content,” an Apple App Review Board employee wrote in a rejection notice to Spirit Realm, Vice’s Motherboard confirmed. “It would be appropriate to remove the references and revise the images in your app.”
Another game featuring Pepe, “Build The Wall: The Game,” was rejected by Apple in October.
The “Pepe Scream” issue first surfaced on Reddit’s The_Donald subreddit when one of the creators complained about the rejection and criticized the “bunch of cucks” at Apple. Cucks is a pejorative word for what the alt-right considers fake conservatives. The developers told Motherboard they created “Pepe Scream” simply as a “silly and funny idea to just show off to our friends.”
The app problem is another sad chapter in poor Pepe’s mysterious and arduous identity crisis. Cartoonist Matt Furie created the little green guy as a gentle-souled stoner dude who liked nothing better than hanging out with his three 20-something slacker pals. The bros’ exploits debuted in the deadpan “Boy’s Club” zine on Furie’s MySpace blog in 2005, and their continuing exploits were later published in a collection by Fantagraphics.
But soon Furie discovered that Pepe was suddenly channeling some “evil shit” by popping up on alt-right sites and images. Things got so bad that Pepe was officially classified as a hate symbol by the Anti-Defamation League.
Furie first tried to save Pepe, but then simply attempted to bury the past and Pepe’s trip to the dark side by drawing the frog in an open casket at his own funeral in a single-page strip for Fantagraphics’ “World’s Greatest Comics.”
But Pepe still lives. And though “Pepe Scream” has been rejected by Apple, the game is available on Google Play. Spirit Realm told Motherboard that it’s considering dropping Pepe for another character so the game won’t be rejected by Apple.