Saturday, July 21, 2012

Give me a break! Kit Kat pulls photo in Pedobear Scare

Pedobear. He's EVERYWHERE. On the Internet, was lurking at Penn State during the Sandusky sex abuse trial, was booted from a Comic-Con and sparked a scare in Oklahoma, and now, he's in a Kit Kat promotion. Give me a break!,0,3945990.story

Pedobear comparison prompts Nestle to pull Instagram photo for Kit Kat

By Laura Hautala

5:19 PM PDT, July 20, 2012

Nestle took down the inaugural Instagram photo from its Kit Kat Facebook page on Thursday because it featured a person dressed as a bear -- which it soon learned resembled an Internet meme associated with child pornography.

The photograph was supposed to launch Kit Kat’s Instagram page, but users quickly drew a connection between the costumed drummer and the meme known as Pedobear.

Pedobear, depicted on the Internet as a brown cartoon bear striding forward with a goofy grin, became popular in the U.S. on the forum website 4chan around 2005, said Brad Jim, editor of the blog Know Your Meme.

The forum had high-speed traffic and a hard-to-control user base, so posting a drawing of Pedobear on a disturbing thread “began to serve as an early warning sign of child pornography,” Jim said.

Representatives from Nestle Australia, which owns Kit Kat, have said they didn’t know about Pedobear and that the company produced the photo of the costumed drummer itself.

“We had never heard of Pedobear,” a spokeswoman for Nestle told Australia's the Age. “But when the possibility of its similarity to the so-called 'Pedobear' was raised with us, we immediately removed it.”

Representatives from Nestle Australia were not immediately available to comment to the Los Angeles Times on this story.

Twitter users were amused, and some scoffed at Nestle’s naivete. “Listen, Nestle, if you want to use the internet, hire people who understand the internet,” tweeted site user Aaron Howland.

People intentionally dressed up as Pedobear have made real-life appearances, including at a Penn State football game and the Jerry Sandusky trial, according to Know Your Meme.

But since 4chan denizens started using the cartoon to flag illegal postings, its meaning has become less clear. Some people see it as an endorsement of child pornography, and some say it makes light of the issue, Jim said.

“It has reached a different level of meaning, where this is basically a debate starter in the media,” Jim said.

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