A false rumor about RMFC is repeating history from the Burned Furs.

by Patch O'Furr

Remember Rainfurrest? Bad behavior was blamed for the con’s demise. In 2015, vandalism caused a fatal economic issue between the con and its hotel. Popular attention focused on fetish activity, but the public didn’t care about it and the media was incredibly positive. That debate stayed between furries, but it was at least based on partial truth (the real reason was economic, not bad PR.) That’s different from dishonesty you can see below. It connects the long-dead 2000-era Burned Furs and the end of ConFurence, with falsehoods that exploit the closing of Rocky Mountain Fur Con. It shows an agenda to divide fandom. (You may ask: why is this still happening in 2017?)

ConFurence, the first fur con, drew criticism about bad behavior. Organizers were blamed for advertising in gay lifestyle magazines to increase attendance, supposedly attracting fetishists who had nothing to do with furry fandom. Then in 2015, a fur dug up the actual 1997 “ad” that people were citing without seeing it.  It wasn’t an ad, and it didn’t come from furries.  The obscure ‘zine publication happened at a time when it couldn’t have influenced anyone. The rumor was a false smear.

The rumor is almost 20 years old now, but it still exists:

“we still hear stories about the early ConFurence when the organizers allowed some BDSM people in to improve attendance, with horrible results” Ask Papabear, 4/12/17 (graciously modified after discussion.)

Pernicious is a good word for such a long-standing rumor.  It spread by conveniently serving agendas, including for the Burned Furs, a group of puritans against “perversion” in fandom.  They lasted about as long as a wet fart, but they’re still a topic because they started this kind of thing.  Put them in a “stupid idea” category full of false “us vs. them” divisions against sex, sin, or “SJW’s”. (Another stupid idea: defending 2 The Ranting Gryphon because he’s “us”.) Maybe call it “hypertribalism?”

At Further Confusion 2017, I got dinner with Mark Merlino, Rod O’Riley, and Changa Lion, staff and founders of ConFurence.  They graciously answered questions about how the con died after the ownership was transferred in 1999.  The next owner was a Burned Fur.  Meanwhile, Burned Furs spread the rumors against fetishists and just plain gay people.  (They are in fandom and were never outsiders.)  The rumors went so far, you could call it a malicious hoax.

From 2005, here’s a look at a Burned Fur not just passing on a rumor, but trumping up a falsehood:

“Regarding Merlino’s marketing of ConFurence to the gay community through specialty magazines, this was confirmed at ConDorCon in the mid-’90s when furry artist Lia Graf directly faced down Mr. Merlino at a convention panel (where I was in attendance) and asked him if he had been doing this. He admitted to the action and said he felt that sexual diversity would do the fandom good.”

– Calbeck, AKA Scott Malcomson, from Wikipedia. (But there was no confirmation of such marketing, as you can see.)

In 2017, here’s the same Burned Fur @Calbeck joining “Bronies For Trump” to make a new accusation about RMFC. The agenda is to blame the con’s problems on “SJW’s” and particularly on Deo. It scapegoats her alone among everything else, for her report of a threat to con security:

This accuses Deo of causing RMFC to lose support from the hotel, and it’s one of many such claims:

What we know is that Deo sent claims of “gun threats” to the police and hotel, said “threats” being a direct response of intent to defend against their own actual threat. – Calbeck on FA

Except that Deo reported to the con itself, and didn’t call the hotel. She handed responsibility to con security to do what they’re meant for. Months later her report only returned for widespread public discussion after it was reported by Dogpatch Press 12 hours before the con was canceled. The fatal security cost was caused by activity from many sides (according to the con chair) and it happened weeks earlier:

We had been approached by our hotel only 2 (maybe 3) weeks before the convention was canceled with the new costs and that was the first we had heard of them or even the possibility. – RMFC chair Sorin to Dogpatch Press on 4/18/17 (lengthy interview posting soon)

In between were many events, that even led RMFC board member Scorch to contradict Calbeck with a dubious story of the hotel “discovering” random tweets. On FA, LucanShepherd answers Scorch:

Deo and her actions are not the only influence on the sequence of events. The Raiders and upset Colorado locals and other people were involved. Both before and after Deo had any involvement… Yet you continually defend the Raiders.

For the purpose of dishonestly scapegoating Deo on Twitter, Calbeck is representing himself as a journalist… but just take his word for it:

Notice how this “actual paid journalist” NEVER SPOKE TO DEO, who he is accusing. Or to me (who he pre-emptively blocked), who did speak with her.

He gets paid, so it must be real? Does that apply to working for nutbag sites like World Net Daily or Infowars, and is that why he’s embarrassed to show it?  How embarrassing for a “real journalist” to get owned by this hobbyist here, while he’s revealed as a common link for falsehoods about TWO cons.

It took 3 minutes for Deo to answer my hobbyist contact to her. She told me:

Calbeck just said it was my fault out of the blue. I had never heard of the guy, and for someone who calls himself a “journalist” he did zero effort at research or getting any sort of communication with me. Called me a man, said I was part of a plot, said Art Decade was my leader, all sorts of conspiracy bullshit and regular bullshit that would have been easy to fact check if only minimal effort had been attempted.  Dishonest and negligent should also be used to describe this liar.

If you’d like to read more from Calbeck, visit his journal that absurdly claims:

“I don’t value ANYONE or ANYTHING more than I do HONOR.”


With one side of the story about RMFC being dishonestly spread to scapegoat Deo entirely for everything – by 2000-era Burned Furs with friends like the Furry Raiders – smart and reasonable furs may not wish to join their “us vs. them” agenda.  And perhaps it’s all “us”, but some of us are just stuck in the past.  Like back in the 1930’s before it stopped being OK to be cool with nazis.  So what horribly difficult solution does the “SJW” side have for settling this division, so the other side can join us in the modern world of 2017?  Does it take a time machine?

It’s as simple as taking off the hateful armbands and ceasing the malicious rumor spreading.

Listen, do you hear barking about BIAS!?  Ignore that noise. But since this article talks about truth and honesty, remember that the job of journalism isn’t to report both sides.  “Both sides” means equal time between a scientist and a flat-earther.  The job is to report the truth.  If it’s about furries and you are a furry, there is no “objectivity” for that (how many furry stories can be told by non-members?) This isn’t mass media, and people who are mad that a furry is putting out a fan-based voice probably aren’t even paying 2 cents to get theirs in.  (So start your own blog, or leave a comment below.)

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