The internet memes that evolved from amateurish drawings of Pepe the Frog are the products of the freedom of speech and the wild transformation of ideas on the internet.
Anyone who is familiar with digital culture already knows that any popular meme can be, and is being used simultaneously for an innumerable number of purposes by an innumerable number of people, around the world.
Anyone who is familiar with digital culture also knows that most of the time these symbols are being used humorously, to express pure silliness.
Other times, they are being used tongue-in-cheek to humorously explore and express controversial ideas, (that is where freedom of speech comes in,) but if you were to survey the reuse of various memes (like Pepe the Frog) you would find, per-capita, very little usage as literal symbols of hate.
It is laughable when some white supremacists claim they have taken over a memed image given the number of simultaneous uses of that image around global internet culture for any reason but hate.
That is why, when the “liberal” establishment and mainstream media tried to run with the idea that Pepe had been transformed into a symbol of hate, they fell flat with anyone who was already familiar with the meme and understands the internet. This really does show how out of touch they are and why they have lost the popular narrative no matter how much BS they can spew in the media.
The attempt to demonize a meme just emphasizes the mainstream media’s loss of control over symbols and ideas, all thanks to free speech platforms that exist on the internet.