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Newsline: Russian embassy in London hits out at PM with ‘white supremacist’ meme

The Russian Embassy in London has been accused of adopting a “white supremacist symbol” after it tweeted criticism of Theresa May alongside an image of the cartoon Pepe the Frog. The embassy has amassed more than 40,000 followers on the social media platform with a combination of provocative statements and comments on controversial issues, as well as engagement with a series of popular memes. It tweeted on Monday to question Britain’s “trust” in the US after Boris Johnson made a hastily-arranged trip to New York and Washington to meet with officials from the Trump transition team. The post read: “In today’s papers: pundits call on @Theresa_May to disrupt possible Russia-US thaw. No trust in Britain’s best friend and ally?” The embassy received hundreds of replies in a matter of hours, but most focussed more on the image accompanying the tweet than the words themselves. That’s because the smirking green cartoon frog has largely been co-opted by white supremacist and “alt-right” movements in the US, more so since Donald Trump became the Republican candidate in the 2016 presidential election. And while the cartoon emerged from innocent beginnings in 2005 and is not inherently a racist meme in its own right, the US Anti-Defamation League has categorised it as a hate symbol. During the US election campaign, an article produced by Hillary Clinton’s team described Pepe as “almost entirely co-opted by the white supremacists who call themselves the ‘alt-right’”, and said the Trump connection to the meme was “horrifying”. The “papers” referenced in the Russian Embassy’s tweet appear to include The Times, which ran an editorial on Monday suggesting the West “should worry that Mr Trump and Mr Putin could draw up a grand bargain stretching well beyond the Middle East”.



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