Five stories that have North Texas talking: Denton ISD administrator under fire for kid’s book; white nationalist rally planned for Sept. 11; meet the eye behind iconic Dallas skyline photos; and more.
Some Denton County residents are calling for a school district administrator to be fired over his recently self-published children’s book that features a white nationalist symbol as a main character.
Eric Hauser, the assistant principal at Rodriguez Middle School, published “The Adventures of Pepe and Pede” on Amazon on Aug. 1. He said he didn’t know that Pepe the Frog has been used by the self-described “alt-right” movement in recent years until after the book was out, The Dallas Morning News reports. He knew it was a conservative meme, he said, not one used by white nationalists.
(Update, Monday 5 p.m. Hauser has been removed from his position as assistant principal and will be assigned to an undetermined role, but it won't be as an administrator or educator, according to the district.)
Hauser said he wrote the story to fill a void in conservative children's literature, according to the Morning News. He also said he doesn't align with the alt-right and chose Pepe because he's a "funny," "lovable character." Pede is short for centipede, a self-adopted term by some supporters of President Trump, according to Buzzfeed.
Here’s the description of the book, which Hauser says has been picked up by a publisher:
“Pepe the Frog and his best friend Centipede unite as one as they fight to restore law and order, and bring freedom back to Wishington Farm. This is an adventurous tale for all ages packed with patriotic prominence!”
An online petition with nearly 500 signatures (as of early Monday morning) demanding Hauser’s removal also calls out the book for being anti-Muslim.
The district hadn't heard about the book until Thursday when Hauser contacted them about it, Denton ISD spokesman Mario Zavala told the Morning News.
"It doesn't really apply to district curriculum. It's something Mr. Hauser wanted to do on a personal level," he said. [The Dallas Morning News]
- A white nationalist, who organized Dallas native Richard Spencer’s controversial talk at Texas A&M last December, announced Saturday he’s hosting a “White Lives Matter”rally next month on campus. A counter protest has been planned. [The Texas Tribune]
- Hundreds gathered at a historic mission near the Rio Grande Saturday to protest President Trump's proposed border wall, which the administration plans to move forward with construction later this year. [The Texas Tribune]
- After eight years, Leslie Brenner is leaving her post as food and restaurant critic for The Dallas Morning News. She tells KERA that she’s excited to eat what she wants and not to have to take pictures of or write notes about it. [KERA News]
- Severe weather doesn’t drive Dallas photographer Justin Terveen indoors. He sets up his cameras and equipment on bridges or atop parking garages, then waits to get the perfect shot — be it mountains or skyscrapers. Check out his work. [Art&Seek]