Advertisement
 
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsHot Pockets

Pedobear comparison prompts Nestle to pull Instagram photo for Kit Kat

July 20, 2012|By Laura Hautala | This post has been corrected, as indicated below.
  • This inaugural Instagram photo on Kit Kat's Facebook page drew comparisons to Pedobear, an Internet meme.
This inaugural Instagram photo on Kit Kat's Facebook page drew comparisons… (The Age / Nestle )

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 Kim, 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,” Kim 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, Kim said.

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

[For the Record, 9:59 a.m. July 23: An earlier version of this online post incorrectly gave the name of Brad Kim, editor of the blog Know Your Meme, as Brad Jim.]

ALSO:

Nestle vows action on Ivory Coast child-labor violations

$11.9 billion for baby food? Nestle pays up for Pfizer Nutrition

Nestle laying off 103 Hot Pockets factory workers at Chatsworth plant

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|