V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai, a Massachusetts congressional hopeful billing himself as a “real Indian” who can defeat the “fake Indian” incumbent Sen. Elizabeth Warren, is advertising new campaign pins featuring an icon popular with white nationalists and other far-right internet users: “Groyper.”
As Will Sommer explained in his Right Richter newsletter last year, Groyper is a cartoon frog that activists lurking in far-right internet spaces turned to when they believed their cherished icon Pepe the Frog became too popular. Sommer wrote:
Meet Groyper, a toad cartoon who’s just like Pepe, but his hands are folded under his chin and he’s naked sometimes.
Groyper is used nearly exclusively on 4Chan, Twitter rival Gab and the darkest far-right parts of Twitter. But he’s become exceedingly popular in that niche, with many of the internet’s worst people now styling their handles after the frog and featuring Groyper avatars.
Earlier this year, Ayyadurai placed an order to have pins featuring his own custom Groyper character sent to manufacturing and this morning, he posted on Twitter that he had finally received pins, which he is selling at the absurd price of $75 a piece.
In February, we wrote about a meeting that Ayyadurai had with an alt-right activist who attended the violent “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virigina last year. At the meetup, Ayyadurai praised the activist and blessed a statue “of ‘Kek’ and Pepe the Frog,” which served as an undeniable wink and nod to the far-right crowd on 4chan’s “politically incorrect” forum board. In response to that Right Wing Watch article, Ayyadurai said, “Praise to frogs, Pepe to Groyper, Nature’s bellwethers” and accused me, the author of that article, of being a white supremacist and “a poster boy for the need to eliminate estrogen in the environment.”
Ayyadurai has been incredibly transparent in his attempts to entice fringe right-wing activists to support his campaign and has spoken at a handful of events featuring far-right activists and members of CRTV host Gavin McInnes’ hate group Proud Boys. He also makes routine appearances on Infowars to advertise himself to conspiracy theorists.
Ayyadurai is among the 16 candidates that Right Wing Watch is monitoring in the lead-up to the 2018 midterm elections.