“We are taking Pepe back. He is mine.”
Reacting to news that white nationalists have purportedly adopted clowns as a racist symbol, a liberal woman who identifies as a clown announced she was reclaiming the symbol in the name of her people and the anti-Trump resistance.
Lil lunchbox, aka Bri Washington, is an obscure YouTube personality known for bizarre videos where she expresses her love for clowns. In a video streamed live to Facebook on Friday, Washington said she was disgusted at the alt-right’s alleged co-opting of a meme depicting Pepe the Frog wearing a red nose and rainbow-colored wig.
They honked my original account https://t.co/Y6KS5zqO5h
please RT to help me find my frens 🤡🌎 pic.twitter.com/YVd7hSdb8g
— Dr. Honkler 🤡🌎 REBORN (@HonkHonkler) April 7, 2019
According to Right Wing Watch, far-right personalities are attempting to link the Clown Pepe image, also known as Honk Honk, with racism.
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“You’re not going to take a symbol of happiness and acceptance and multiculturalism and turn it into something racist, and anti-Semitic, and homophobic and transphobic,” Washington said in the video, which has since gone viral and been subjected to intense mockery from conservatives who see it as a sign of liberal derangement.
“So, Pepe, he belongs to me now. Pepe the Frog with his curly ass afro-wig – he belongs to me. That is a symbol of the Resistance, now,” Washington added, apparently referencing the anti-Trump opposition movement.
She encouraged her followers to take Clown Pepe back, by Photoshopping LGBTQ and pro-Black symbols onto the meme. “We are taking Pepe back. He is mine,” Washington declared. “I’m adopting him. I’m saving him from these freaks, these degenerates, who think that it’s okay to take a symbol of happiness and – It’s disgusting.”
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) April 8, 2019
She said it was pathetic that anyone would twist “such a positive thing like clowns” to serve their racist purposes. In a video responding to the attention her original monologue received by saying that she had reclaimed, Clepe (previously known as Pepe), the “sweet and pro gay frog that was kidnapped by the alt right and held prisoner by him.”
“He is now free and is a champion of all things social justice,” Washington added.
While there is likely an element of self-awareness and irony to Washington’s surreal, meme-influenced work, she does not appear to be trolling. A survey of posts on her personal Facebook profile suggests she is sincere in her espousal of progressive and radical left stances. Washington’s worldview, while unusual, appears to be genuine. In a video uploaded to YouTube she even revealed that she was briefly a supporter of President Donald Trump at one point.
Her unique perspective has even earned her some unlikely fans.
Conservative commentator James Woods reacted to Washington’s video by revealing his begrudging admiration for the outlandish vlogger, calling her his “new favorite person on Twitter.”
“I started out making fun of her video, but now I’m really curious about her. I would seriously do a documentary film of her life,” he tweeted. “If people are so passionate and completely different from you, there has to be something there worth listening to. Who is she? I’m so curious now.”
“I like her. I’m not kidding. I mean, there’s the clown stuff and the nutso liberal stuff, but she’s likeable. I don’t know why. I’m still smiling,” he added in a subsequent tweet.
Washington responded to Woods’ remarks by saying she’d “love to speak with him.”
infowars:my latest claters, apparently. I'm listening to their show because they decided to play a clip from my clideo…
Washington has in the past protested the cultural oppression of clowns and spoken out about her mental illness.
Last year, therapists indicated a rise in what they unofficially diagnosed as “Trump Anxiety Disorder.” In a 2017 essay, clinical psychologist Jennifer Panning – who is credited with originally coining the term – described the symptoms of “Trump Anxiety Disorder” as worrying about the state of the country, feeling helpless and out of control, and spending too much time on social media.
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