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Internet Nazis Are Trying to Claim Wendy’s and John Carpenter’s They Live, Because That’s Our World Now

You know when it's really Nazis.

they-live

In yet another sure sign that 2017 isn’t planning on being any less absurd and bad than 2016, the fight against Internet Nazis continues. We’ve got plenty of very real issues to worry about when it comes to the rapidly spreading hate across our nation and the world … and then there’s this: Wendy’s and John Carpenter are now in the position of having to distance themselves from Nazis.

For Wendy’s, it all started with a (supposedly) accidental tweet of a Pepe the Frog meme. You may remember Pepe as the face of the hateful Internet trolls in Donald Trump’s legion of deplorables, as the poor, innocent cartoon frog became the face of white supremacy and all kinds of other hate last year. Then, in the middle of a Twitter conversation that largely started off as a win for Wendy’s, this happened:

I’ve known plenty of memelords in my day, and Pepe’s been around for a while, so it’s not wholly impossible that the Wendy’s employee who posted this was unaware of the relatively recent neo-Nazi associations. (Though it’s kind of weird for a community manager to have supposedly missed what was possibly 2016’s biggest meme.) Once other Twitter users began to backtrack on their sudden fondness for the fast food chain, and someone higher up the food chain at Wendy’s found out what was happening, the Tweet was quickly deleted.

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Unfortunately, we also learned last year that this kind of thing is supported by way too many more people than we would’ve liked to think (our preferred number is zero, for the record), and a neo-Nazi website (The Daily Stormer, if you must know) has now endorsed Wendy’s as “The Official Fast Food Chain of the Alt-Right” (alt-right, again, is a euphemism for neo-Nazis), citing that very Pepe tweet. That’s a pretty dubious distinction for Wendy’s, and as terrible as it is to live in a world where this disturbing farce is playing out, at least we can hope this helped open some eyes to what’s going on.

Then, there’s They Live, John Carpenter’s 1988 horror satire, which the Nazi trolls have apparently decided is actually about how Jewish people control the world, as opposed to Carpenter’s explanation:

Plenty of non-terrible people have jumped into the reply thread on that tweet to raise questions from “How would the alternative even make sense?” to “Why did this need clarifying?” but there are plenty of anti-semitic memes and statements flying in there, too. Sadly, it did need clarifying, but it’s unlikely that will change the closed minds that go in for this kind of hate in the first place.

This all seems really silly to talk about, honestly, but if there’s one other lesson 2016 taught us, it’s that this is actually all very, very serious. This is exactly how this kind of virulent hate spreads and festers. I can call them “Internet Nazis,” but really, they’re just Nazis. That’s exactly why we continue to bring attention to it, as absurd as it seems. The hate spread by these memes and trolls is very real, and ignoring it or thinking of it as “just Internet trolls” is no longer an option.

(via Gizmodo, featured image via Universal Pictures)

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