Scenes of Kermit’s circumstances in the film became an instant curiosity to people online, juxtaposing Kermit’s child-friendly image with the Gulag’s harsh conditions. For example, on June 7th, 2014, DeviantArt user YuiHarunaShinozaki posted a Fluttercry Watching TV meme that features a screenshot of Kermit in restraints at the Gulag (shown below, left).
As cultural memory of the film faded, clips and images from the film continued to appear online, often wondering why and where this came from or mistaking images from the film for actual pictures from a gulag camp. On April 23rd, 2017, controversial clinical psychologist Dr. Jordan Peterson tweeted a clip from the film. He wrote, “Kermit in the Gulag. Really. How can this be? Anything is possible in the days of KEK.” One user, @Gordon_Pasha, responded with a meme that features imagery from the film with the caption, “Tired of Communism? There’s always KEK” (shown below, center).
The following year, writer Peter Van Buren published an article entitled “Twitter Suspends Me Forever” on the Ron Paul Institute website. Years later, on October 11th, 2020, Twitter user @dbateyko shared screenshots from the article and wrote, “Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity posting kermit gulag.” The tweet received more than 390 likes and 65 retweets in less than six months (shown below, right).
The same image also appeared in a tweet by Twitter user @imheosphoros, who captioned the image, “Same card might be used for left-wing based on your awful analogy.” After being corrected by Twitter user @leftytimes, the exchange went viral due to Twitter user @nourmal_woman sharing the conversation. The post received more than 168,000 likes 24,000 retweets (shown below).
In Mel magazine’s oral history of Muppets Most Wanted that focuses on the inclusion of the gulag, Joe Hennes, the owner and editor-in-chief of the Muppet fan site Tough Pigs, said:
I’m not sure why this movie — when it wasn’t all that successful — has created so many memes. Perhaps it’s because these images come out of left field. We’ve never seen Kermit in jail before and we’ve never seen him talking to an evil doppelgänger before, so these images are really funny and they stand out among the countless other Kermit memes.