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In early 2012 the fandom dubbed character Derpy Hooves was recognized by name in the show My Little Pony Friendship is Magic. A month later an edited version of the episode appeared on iTunes which did not name the character and removed her iconic derped eyes. Hasbro also pressured their licensed vendors to pull items that referred to the character (such as the shirts from Welovefine.com). “Save Derpy” was the ensuing campaign to save the Bronies’ iconic poster-child from being removed from the show.
In The Last Roundup, the fourteenth episode of the second season of My Little Pony:Friendship is Magic, the background character Derpy Hooves was given a speaking part in which Rainbow Dash called her by the fan-given name for the first time ever. After it aired on January 21st, 2012, fans outside of the Brony community saw her name as insulting and ableist, and launched a petition, citing examples of Derpy being used to make fun of disabled people.
On January 30th, iTunes removed the episode from sale. Three days later, Hasbro asked t-shirt company WeLoveFine to recall or rename their Derpy-themed merchandise. Later that day, the site complied with the request and the name was changed to “Ditsy.” As of March 1st, 2012,most t-shirts available on WeLoveFine have been changed back to Derpy.
On February 24th, the episode was reuploaded to iTunes, featuring a different voice actress for Derpy’s character and omitting all mentions of the fan-given name “Derpy.” Fans were not pleased with the changes, spreading their thoughts on the issue via the Save Derpy campaign across various sites on the internet.
On February 2nd, 2012 the domain “savederpy.com” was registered and created.  The site served as a way to get involved with the campaign and provided current news, a DeviantArt images feed, as well as a twitter feed. The site at one point featured two online petitions that were spread across the community.
During this campaign two petitions were formed on the site change.org. One of the petitions gained 41,942 signatures out of the requested 50,000 by March 1st, 2012 (just over a month’s time). The other petition received 7,802 out of the set 30,000 by the same date (within 1 week’s time).
On February 25th the tumblr Derpy Hooves Love began with the domain savederpy.tumblr.com. The first post was “A Call to Action.” This post explained how Derpy Hooves “represents the fandom” and urges the readers to “send EVERYTHING you can in support.” Subsequent post showcase fanart and vlogs supporting Derpy and asking Hasbro not to change the character’s name. The tumblr was successful in sorting out what happened by receiving a response from the writer of the episode, Amy Keating Rogers.
The Twitter hashtag #SaveDerpy began as a way to saturate the website with support for the character. It has also been included in fanart on Tumblr and deviantArt to draw more attention to the movement.
Amy Keating Rogers Responds
On February 29th, 2012, the Save Derpy Tumblr posted an email exchange between the site’s owner, Daniel, and one of the show’s writers Amy Keating Rogers. Daniel had emailed her to make sure it was clear that Derpy was named in reference to the internet slang term “derp” and was not intended to be used to make fun of the disabled.
In her response, Keating Rogers explained that though there were only a handful of angry emails, they made her uncomfortable because she understood where they were coming from:
Now, you have to realize that reading that made my heart sink. My son Soren (of Soarin’ fame) is severely disabled. We do not use the word “retarded” in our house because it really has become an offensive slur. And while I knew that it was only a minority of people that defined “derpy” this way, it still upset me that I was the writer that put that name out there. It was painfully ironic and goes against the fact that I’m an advocate for the disabled.
While she was not personally offended by the scene, she said that the decision was up to Hasbro and the Hub and they had to make a decision based on was was best for the brand and the show. The email correspondence was reposted to Equestria Daily and covered by news outlets including the Daily Dot, the Daily What and the Examiner.
Derpy Hooves News – Hasbro Pressuring WeLoveFine to remove Derpy Merchandise
Derpy Hooves – Derpy Hooves: Mentally Handicapped or Just Clumsy?
Subtlety. The Musical. –
Here’s a collection of evidence of “Derpy Hooves” being portrayed as a cruel joke.