by Patch O'Furr
Midwest Furfest 2017 broke the attendance record of all furry cons by the margin of a small con itself. It raised an eye-popping $86,000 for an animal charity that was previously in the red and is now funded for years. Twitter was on fire about the smashing success for the fandom. Among many ecstatic posts by attendees, of course there had to be some kind of drama too. It came with a fursuiter being arrested. Here’s the story pieced together by claims on twitter:
Scene: a hotel lobby. A black, red and white wolf fursuiter with a German WW1 style Pickelhaube helmet is parading around. People taking photos are greeted by offensive behavior like saluting with a “Sieg Heil” and shouting racist things. It causes hotel and/or con security to pursue him, and he flees and gets cornered in some bushes until the police come. They make him take off his suit, and he’s taken away in underwear. He was previously banned from the con and hotel, and the charges involve trespassing and assaulting a staff member before his arrest.
Some of those claims may be disputed (especially the nazi part), so let’s look deeper for the truth. Here’s an arrest record. Associates confirm the fursuiter who matches it is Magnus Diridian, AKA Rob Shokawsky (real name Robert Sojkowski). What is Magnus known for in furry fandom?
- Fake Lemonade Coyote: At Anthrocon 2014, Magnus gained notoriety with a “bootleg” fursuit made to imitate a furry who died on duty as an EMT. People mourning his death were unhappy about exploitation of his image, which continues in 2017.
- Confederate flag fursuit: At Anthrocon 2017, Magnus caused more anger with a flag-design fursuit and a Trump sign. It was a protest of takedown of the flags around the USA due to their racist association, following national attention on hate crime murders by Dylann Roof. The story was covered in a Dogpatch Press article: The Confederate fursuit incident shows how you can’t be a troll and a victim at the same time.
- Grimace McWendy’s: Custom suits show that Magnus puts a lot of effort into these events. If it’s not just calculated to troll, isn’t that’s a loveable quality? The same is said by people close to him who are earnest about defending him as a nice guy. I have to admit that this fursuit makes me laugh and I have to admire the creative humor. (Suiting video).