Pedobear

Pedobear

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About

Pedobear is a cartoon mascot that became a well-known icon through its usage on 4chan to signal moderators and other users that illegal pornographic content had been posted. Due to the widespread nature of its application, Pedobear has been often misinterpreted as a symbol of pedophilia and lolita complex, especially in the news media and law enforcement agencies.

Origin


くまくま━━━━━━ヽ( ・(ェ)・ )ノ━━━━━━ !!


The character known today as Pedobear used to be simply known as “Kumar” or “Kumā” (bear) on the Japanese textboard 2channel. It originated as an ASCII art image created by ぶる ~ 3, who was instrumental in starting an emoticon-only board on 2ch.[1] One of the earliest 2ch threads with this ASCII was posted on February 27th, 2003.[2] The bear would be posted as a reaction to threads where the original poster would be fishing for attention, as a way to highlight the thread was an obvious troll.[3]



The ASCII character gradually evolved to encompass several lines instead of just one, before becoming a drawn character[4], popular enough to be turned into papercraft.[5]



Spread

Due to 4chan’s anonymous environment, people tend to act without fear of retribution. Because of this, there are the occasional pedophiles swapping Child Pornography, or CP on the site.



Pedobear had become associated with pedophilia as early as February 2005 when it was defined on Urban Dictionary[6] as a character used on hentai “lolikon” [sic] boards and on 4chan. Some of the earliest threads with Pedobear photoshopped into photos of young girls date back to February 10th, 2006, archived via screenshot, and November 29th, 2006.[7]

Pedobear.org[12] was created on January 14th, 2008 hosting a pedobear image gallery and shop. DesuToys has sold a Pedobear plush[14] since early 2009. Also that year, Pedobear was voted Miley Cyrus’ number 1 fan.[8] In February 2010, the Times of Malta[13] reported that a graffiti artist had stenciled Pedobear on to billboards advertising the Pope’s trip to Malta. The stenciler was never found, but the story about the incident brought over 300,000 readers to the Times of Malta in two months.[15] Since its appearance in the media and blog coverage, Pedobear has been frequently misinterpreted as a symbol of pedophilia.

Notable Examples





Notable Appearances

Polish Newspaper: Vancouver Olympics Mascot

On July 3rd, 2009, blogger Michael Barrick created a composite image depicting Pedobear grouped together with fan art of the cartoon mascots of the Vancouver Winter Olympics created by artist Angela Melick. On Thursday, February 4th, 2010 Polish newspaper The Gazeta Olsztynska mistakenly used the image for a front page story about the Olympics in Vancouver.[9][10]



Doubt Parody

On July 13th, 2009, CollegeHumor.com produced a short parody of the film Doubt starring Phillip Seymour Hoffman. The Parody placed Pedobear in the role of the priest.



Florida Newspaper: Pedobear in Computer Parts Ad

On March 22nd, 2011, Urlesque[11] posted a photograph of a coupon book advertisement for a Florida-based computer parts distribution service called “CP Distributor.” Whether the inclusion of Pedobear was intentional or accidental remains unclear, but the combination of anti-child pornography mascot and the “CP Distributor” seems highly exploitable.



University Dormitory Prank

On September 6th, 2011, Redditor noahhk submitted a post to AskReddit[25] seeking help after his dorm’s residential director brought him into a disciplinary meeting for pranking his dormmates by placing a printout of Pedobear on an elevator door.



According to the OP (original poster), the director called in the campus police, who went onto investigate the meaning of Pedobear on the Internet and came to believe it was a symbol that directly supported pedophiles. The OP also quoted one of the officers who told him that his prank is “as offensive as posting swastikas all over the walls, it’s the same thing.” Almost a month later, Redditor noahhk submitted a follow-up post noting that he was initially charged for disorderly conduct and indecent conduct by the school’s Judicial Affairs Office, but they were eventually dropped after he cleared up the confusion with the residential director.

TicketCity Bowl Match: Penn State vs. Houston

During the post-season TicketCity Bowl college football match held between Penn State and Houston on January 2nd, 2012, a Houston fan dressed in a Pedobear costume was seen tailgating in the parking lot as well as in the stadium. Organized as a prank by Houston supporters on the Texas Longhorns fan site Shaggy Bevo[17], the costume was aimed at the long-time Penn State football team coach Joe Paterno, who was fired from his post in December 2011 following a sexual abuse scandal involving one of Paterno’s assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.



Donning a sign with Penn State’s Nittany Lion emblem and a message that read “Keep Quiet and Don’t Tell Anyone,” the fan was allowed to enter the stadium and even seen on the Jumbotron, as reported by sports blog Deadspin[18] on January 2nd, 2011.



Jerry Sandusky Trial

On June 20th, 2012, an unidentified individual dressed as Pedobear showed up at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, where former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky’s child molestation trial took place. The mascot’s seemingly inevitable appearance was quickly recognized by Ben Jones, one of the Penn State students on the scene, who then tweeted a picture of Pedobear interacting with news reporters outside the courthouse:


Later that same day, photographs of Pedobear ouside the courthouse were featured on various internet culture websites like Deadspin[30], Mashable[31] and Huffington Post[32], as well as sports news blogs like Bleacher Report[33] and Big Lead Sports[34] among others.



Kit Kat’s Facebook Announcement

On July 19th, 2012, Nestle’s chocolate candy brand Kit Kat uploaded an Instagram photo of a man in a bear suit resembling Pedobear via its Facebook page[19] to announce the launch of its official Instagram account. The similarity in appearance was immediately pointed out by Facebook commenters and the post was taken down shortly after.



A spokeswoman for Nestle Australia and New Zealand told the Sydney Morning Herald[20] that they had never heard of Pedobear and did not intend for the photo to represent him. The incident was covered on Mashable[21], the Huffington Post[22], Gawker[23] and Gizmodo Australia.[24]

Search Interest

Search for Pedobear peaked in February 2010, when images of the character were stenciled onto the Pope’s billboards in Italy.

External References

[1]Wikipedia – Kumar

[2]2channel Archive –

[3]Oh Internet – Pedobear

[4]Sukueya – Shop

[5]Sukueya –

[6]Urban Dictionary – Pedobear

[7]chanarchive – cranberry loli

[8]Buzzfeed – Pedobear is Officially Miley Cyrus’s #1 Fan

[9]Metro.ca – ‘Pedobear’ mistaken for Olympics mascot

[10]Telegraph – Polish newspaper claims ‘Pedobear’ is 2010 Vancouver Olympic mascot

[11]Urlesque – Pedobear Sneaks Into a Convicted Sex Offender’s Computer Parts Ad

[12]Pedobear.org – Home

[13]Times of Malta – Panda print

[14]PedobearPlush.com – Home

[15]Times of Malta – ‘Pedobear’ on papal billboards becomes online sensation

[16]Logsoku – どーもくん

[17]Shaggy Bevo – Shaggy to Ticket City Bowl (UH v. Pedo State) FEATURING PEDO BEARUPATE – It’s on

[18]Deadspin – Pedobear Showed Up At The Houston-Penn State Game Today

[19]Facebook – Kit Kat

[20]Sydney Morning Herald – Pedo-bear ruins Nestle’s Facebook party

[21]Mashable – Whoops: Kit Kat’s Mascot Resembles Pedobear

[22]Huffington Post – Kit Kat ‘Pedobear’ Photo: Nestle Pulls Instagram Image Resembling Infamous Meme

[23]Gawker – Nestle Forced to Yank New Kit Kat Mascot Off Facebook Over Similarity to Pedobear

[24]Gizmodo Australia – Pedobear Problem Plagues Nestle Australia

[25]Reddit – Pedobear image in dorm elevator = possible pedophile? HUH? (Help???)

[26]The Daily Dot – Trouble for pedobear poster

[27]AR15 – College prank – pedobear sticker in elevator of dorm – campus police called

[28]AnandTech – Pedobear prank gets police involved

[29]Reddit – Followup response to Pedobear Prank (September 6th)

[30]Deadspin – “Pedobear” Shows Up At The Courthouse For Jerry Sandusky’s Trial [UPDATE: Now He’s Giving A Press Conference]

[31]Mashable –

[32]Huffington Post – Pedobear At Jerry Sandusky Trial: Advocacy Mascot Pays A Visit To Courthouse

[33]Bleacher Report – Jerry Sandusky Trial: Pedobear Has No Place at Center County Courthouse

[34]Big Lead Sports – Pedobear Showed Up at Jerry Sandusky’s Trial This Morning

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