After #tonytigergate, companies go Pro Furry and the Daily Show gets involved.
by Patch O'Furr
Get ready to hack up a hairball about this, if you want furry fandom to get taken seriously without a speck of sexy humor about make-believe mascots. (Or if you’re prudish and think cartoon kink is worse than ISIS.) Stuff like this must have Disney’s defensive shields on maximum.
It started with furry flirting at Tony the Tiger’s Twitter account. In November 2015, news media noticed that he was a long time Furry crush. The buff, yiffable mascot for Frosted Flakes couldn’t tweet without pleas for his sweet tigermanmilk. I shared all the news stories I could find about it:
- Tony the Tiger is being harassed by horny furries on Twitter
- Furries Take Cat-Calling To The Next Level On Tony The Tiger’s Twitter
- Tony The Tiger’s Twitter Account Keeps Getting Mentioned By Furries Looking For Sex
- Tony the Tiger gets harassed by furries all the time on Twitter
- Tony the Tiger Can’t Tweet Without Furries Begging Him for Sex
If y'all weren't aware, John Harvey Kellogg invented corn flakes to stop children from masturbating. Apparently it didn't work.— escuik (@favoritemouse) January 28, 2016
Tony’s sex appeal is a little ironic, when Kellogg’s is a company with the most over-the-top, puritanical sex-negative history you can imagine.
On the flip side, be amused or confused about a really dirty meaning for Tony’s bandana in gay hanky code. This is hilarious to strange, dark corners of the internet. Here’s a reference about it for those into Serious Cinema as much as Cereal Sin. In 1980’s Cruising, Al Pacino learns things as an undercover cop:
Tony the Tiger turns tail.
Behind the scenes with Tony’s social media team, all of this heat was too much to handle. Maybe they felt like it was Brand Vandalism… and this wasn’t even the first time this fall that Tony was target for a well organized prank. The first had nothing to do with furries- that PR crisis was fake, satirical ads.
Things came to a head in January 2016. They started blocking all furries en masse, whether they deserved it or not.
- Gawker: Tony the Tiger Turns His Back on Twitter’s Horny Furries
- Huffington Post: Tony The Tiger Is Really Not Into All These Furries Asking For Sex
- NY Daily News: Tony the Tiger is getting harassed on Twitter by sexually aroused furries
- Metro UK: Tony the Tiger has started blocking furries due to their sexual fascination with him
- MTV News: Thirsty Furries Are Sexually Harrassing Tony The Tiger And He Doesn’t Think It’s Grrreat
Furry Twitter today pic.twitter.com/UbGFiVw8Ul— Wintertime Dergs (@VeryDragons) January 27, 2016
Tony is testy, but Chester Cheetah wants to chill.
Across the internet, furries on the sidelines grabbed popcorn, or wagged their paws in shame. Others cried about rejection by Tony and got the #tonytigergate hashtag trending. This led another corporate spokeskitty to notice the poor, lonely furries.
In short order, more corporate PR accounts jumped in to show tolerance against Furryphobia. Their free hype was quite a spectacle of capitalist opportunity, with a cheesy coating of fun for those who staffed the boring social media jobs.
i can't fucking handle this, tony the tiger blocked all the furries but chester cheetah is loving it pic.twitter.com/Sf0llpO0kb— junglecat ㏌teractive (@taizou_hori) January 26, 2016
What about this guy? He probably doesn’t want to come out of the kennel, because all of this publicity is too hot to handle. But check out his Chester fursuit.
Tony gets back to selling wholesome diabeetus – and the Daily Show calls.
It must have hurt Tony’s pride to see Chester being the bigger cat. Alpha jocks can be like that. But in the end, he’s got cereal to sell and customers to please. He put out a message to make nice. Too bad he doesn’t realize what ‘cub’ means to a certain crowd…
I’m all for showing your stripes, feathers, etc. But let’s keep things gr-r-reat – & family-friendly if you could. Cubs could be watching 🙂— Tony the Tiger (@realtonytiger) January 28, 2016
Now they’re coming down our rabbit hole for another story about the story. Of course they are; it’s pure clickbait. Let’s see where this leads, and be ready for another spoonful of deliciously tasteless comedy.
It's happening. pic.twitter.com/sNAvOlbUIN— Isabelle Sherbrooke (@Flea) January 28, 2016
For the record, I love anarchic satire. I understand complaints about immaturity and harassment, but I won’t judge. Overall, companies benefit from exposure, and the fictitious mascot’s managers get paid to do more than a “drill” (like handling truly crazy angry customers – which furries aren’t). If you shouldn’t tweak a brand this way, then there might be no value in the world for bawdiness and satire. The courts of the land disagree.
The dirty tweeters are definitely motivated by parody/satire. See the “RPing with restaurants” bit. It’s in-jokes and meta-jokes about the machinery of PR. They’re having a go at the idea of a corporation having a personality (and sex life!?) Of course it’s also lowbrow internet trolling without much higher meaning. But if you can’t have a laugh at the expense of corporations who are responsible for much more sinister manipulation, well keep eating that Monsanto corn. PR needs satire like cereal needs milk.
John Harvey Kellogg founded a giant of the industrial food complex. As part of it’s wholesome values, he spread racist eugenics and preached that sex was an evil, dirty thing. It’s kinda funny to see his pussycat get rubbed wrong with off-color jokes that delight in defying taboo. It might have a little to do with “culture jamming.” Tony’s a big, tough cat anyhow – he can take care of himself.