Terror, Teens, and Furaffinity — How a chain of violent hate incidents links to furry fandom.
by Patch O'Furr
The biggest furry art site FurAffinity is hosting promotion for a neo-nazi mass shooter. Brenton Tarrant shot 100 people in Christchurch, New Zealand in March 2019. Tarrant came from internet radicalizing. He used 8chan to broadcast hate, and is now a far-right extremist hero for copycats around the world. FurAffinity has been closing many reports about it, including mine and others that tipped off this story. Furaffinity’s Code of Conduct (2.7) says: “Do not identify with or promote real hate or terrorist organizations and their ideologies.” They refuse to enforce it.
- TAKE ACTION: Send this to @FurAffinity and owner @IMVU and ask them to enforce their policy. Also tip media who have covered hate groups in the fandom before: @RollingStone, @Newsweek, @Vice, @HuffPost or @TheDailyBeast.
- While this story won’t get into COVID-19, the US government warns that extremists consider it an opportunity for recruiting and terrorism.
In Furaffinity’s policy, “organizations” may be a weasel-word to dismiss this as an isolated thing. Treating this as “just art” helps the goal of radicalizing — to worm inside with lying that hate isn’t tied to violence, and violence comes from “lone wolves”. (A goal to provoke, but deny it.)
Single data points make a much bigger chain. When insiders refuse to recognize it or do anything to help, they pass off responsibility to outside sources. This story will be one of those sources, along with FBI docs and current mainstream news that link a fringe of furry fandom to violent hate.
One of the links to furry fandom is a member in common with at least three hate groups. Dillon Hopper is an ex military recruiter whose pre-2017 furry background is unreported and almost unknown. The groups he moved on to are notorious for terrorism and murder. That’s right — Hopper came from furry, then he led Vanguard America, associated with Atomwaffen Division, and helped copycat group Feuerkrieg Division to recruit underage kids.
LINKS GROW WITH CURRENT NEWS:
- In April 2020, mainstream media covers Feuerkrieg Division, an internet neo-nazi group led by a radicalized THIRTEEN year old.
- Feuerkrieg Division promoted extremist violence like chlorine bombs, leading to arrest for trying to bomb Jewish and LGBTQ people.
- That includes reference to mass shooting at furry cons — (and remember when Midwest Furfest was attacked with chlorine in 2014?)
- Posts about murdering furries by teens in FKD were provoked by the neo-nazi leader in his 30’s, Dillon Hopper.
- Hopper led Vanguard America when it made news for a murder at the 2017 Unite the Right hate march in Charlottesville, VA…
- … and before it, Hopper’s history in furry fandom included getting kicked out of furry cons in Ohio for starting fights.
- Hopper knows and praises the leader of Atomwaffen Division, the “Siege”-inspired terrorist group that Feuerkrieg Division was modeled after.
- Atomwaffen Division was tied to 5 murders, and hundreds of terror incidents in 2017-2018, including swatting a sitting US Government cabinet official.
- A February 2020 report from the FBI shows Atomwaffen Division had nazifurs inside, even participating in their swatting campaign.
- In February 2020, longtime furry artist Reagan Lodge was exposed as a member of Iron March, a hate forum that produced AWD and Vanguard America. He made a twitter post about personally leaving a “dark period,” but it’s not clear if it included recognition for the bigger issue of group radicalizing.
The tiny Nazifur/”Altfurry” fringe works for goals in common with hate groups like these, including sending nazifurs to the deadly Charlottesville march. And the New Zealand shooter inspires many of these links. The more this chain is ignored, the more it will lead to violence. This isn’t a “think of the children” story about vague influence — it’s about deliberate targeting. Leaked chats from Feuerkrieg Division show how they recruit kids.
The leak shows a high level of detail into FKD's activities from July 2019 to March 2020.
— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) March 20, 2020
I can't state this enough.
The far-right is deliberately targeting children.
And nobody is fighting against that harder than @_Shan_Martinez_.
For a good look at how to counter the far-right's recruitment of children, see her thread here.
— AntiFash Gordon (@AntiFashGordon) April 8, 2020
FEUERKRIEG DIVISION — Details about radicalizing kids, bombing plans and more in the new leaks.
While talking about murdering furries, Dillon Hopper (who we’ll return to below) was jokingly called “babysitter” by teens in FKD. Their leader was a 13 year old schoolboy in Estonia. This Estonian news story about him mentions furries on their enemy list.
FKD started with European roots, but was modeled after Atomwaffen Division in America. This PDF profile mentions how they reached out to Americans. In August 2019, FKD associate Conor Climo was arrested in Las Vegas with bomb-making materials meant to attack Jews and LGBTQ people.
FKD also discussed ways to appeal to centrists, then radicalize chosen members and bring them to an inner group. It’s a tactic shared with altfurry groups, who have been seen discussing how to make members comfortable in group chats, then “redpill” them with personal DM’s.
Let’s go back several years to find furries linked with more extreme terrorists than generally known. That’s when deniers were claiming that “furries can’t be nazis,” and accusing this site of “crying wolf” about what’s now public. Meanwhile in 2018, nazifurs were inside a secret crime spree by Atomwaffen Divison.
Conor Climo used the alias 'Ben' / 'Ben Dover' in the Feuerkreig Division's encrypted Wire chat.
In addition to discussing various terror tactics, he proposed using Discord chats to recruit teenagers who he could then direct to make improvised bombs.https://t.co/bgPAKum989 pic.twitter.com/D04o10ES0N
— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) March 20, 2020
ATOMWAFFEN DIVISION — Some of the worst extremism that “Nazi Furs Fuck Off” covers.
In February 2020, the FBI reported about Atomwaffen Divison’s campaign of swatting (using fake calls to send a SWAT team crashing through a victim’s door). There were hundreds of incidents. Their report didn’t discuss evidence inside it that needed a furry news story to explain: FBI Ties Nazifurs to Atomwaffen Division — Attacks Targeted US Gov Official, Journalists.
That story had all the known details, until the Unicorn Riot leaks showed how AWD and FKD had members in common, like Dillon Hopper.
The story looked at AWD chat logs from their 2018 swatting campaign. That was when “Nazi Furs Fuck Off” was a saying across furry fandom — and in the AWD chats — and there was a furry interview and party with Jello Biafra. (He’s the Dead Kennedys songwriter who wrote “Nazi Punks Fuck Off” in 1981).
Jello Biafra answered my recent mail about this. (I sent it for the novelty of seeing a reference to him churn though the underworld and federal surveillance, and back out through an FBI press release.) He said:
My fave part of that small exchange is, “Nazis and Furrys should be able to live in peace”. Really?? On whose terms?? They really don’t want to live in peace with anyone… Sad I never got invited back to do another Furry event. Hope all’s well otherwise.
— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) December 2, 2018
UNITE THE RIGHT — Deadly violence and Altfurry goals converged at the Charlottesville neo-nazi march in 2017.
If these links are the tip of an iceberg, others stay unseen until radicalizing tips them over the edge.
In 2019, James Alex Fields was sentenced to life in prison for murder. Fields plowed his car into protesters leaving Unite The Right, shortly after he was there with Vanguard America. Their members celebrated his act, followed by denial of responsibility by then-president Dillon Hopper. (Provoke but deny.)
Nathan Gate livestreamed the march. As an admin for alt-right groups and Unite The Right organizer Richard Spencer, he helped set up the Altfurry Discord server. Newsweek called him “The most damning link between white supremacists and alt-furries.” That day in 2017, he was photographed with one of six men who assaulted hate crime victim Deandre Harris. Gate called the beating beautiful. By 2019 four of them were convicted to 2-8 years in jail each.
Andrew Dodson carried a torch in the march. In furry fandom he was “Goldenzoltan”. He went to Anthrocon and was known for trolling since the early 2000’s. It was less-known that he went by “dog0fwar” for alt-right activity, like joining an anti-fascist meeting in Boston to spy and give notes to hate organizers. At Unite The Right, he approached a journalist to give a pro-racist statement that put his face in national news.
Besides his beliefs, Dodson was considered gifted in nuclear energy research, and apparently suffered as a gay man with long time drug and mental issues. A half year after the march, he died from a heroin overdose. A person close to him found his body, tipped me about it and the heroin use, but denied it was suicide. Police called me for details.
March organizer Richard Spencer found out months late, misspelled Dodson’s name, called him a “marty,” and used this hate casualty to blame Antifa and the media. Dodson’s death put him in some national news (again), this time about making him a martyr and “doxing” (even though HE approached the first reporter).
It seems like hate groups weren’t there for Dodson when he suffered with the stain they put on his life — just when they could use him. They don’t just hurt their targets, they ruin lives of their members.
Dodson’s last known link to furry was going to Midwest Furfest 2017, where he was seen asking around to find outspoken anti-fascist DeoTasDevil with comments about stabbing her.
DILLON HOPPER — The ex military recruiter, violent “N-Word Guy” at furry cons, and leader of Vanguard America.
Shortly before Unite The Right in 2017, Hopper talked about his group Vanguard America and how it recruited 18 to 24 year olds because the “future is about the youth”. Later that year, Vanguard America cut ties with Hopper. A chapter leader, Thomas Rousseau, seized power in the wake of Heather Heyer’s murder at the march. He reformed the group as Patriot Front. Hopper moved on from furry cons to grooming teens into other hate groups and targeting furries.
So what was Hopper’s fandom activity?
Furry usernames were hard to find at first, except “TruckRR”. It matched a few Inkbunny comments (one was a spelling match to his hate group posts.) When Hopper’s photo made news about Unite The Right, he was recognized by furries who used to know him. None would speak openly but several told stories in private. One told me:
At Morphicon [name for AnthrOhio until 2015], he got kicked out for getting so drunk that he started throwing pool furniture on the patio. Hotel security kicked him out, he tried to drive away, they wouldn’t let him get in his car from how drunk he was. At a New Years party which unfortunately I was a part of, he was trying to pick a fight with me, and I regret to this day not swinging on him. Basically he’d show up, get beyond drunk to almost throw-up level, then start calling everyone the n-word. So he had the nickname of “N-Word Guy” whenever he was brought up, which usually got the response of “Ooooh….. him”.
The link was investigated by the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2018. A witness wouldn’t share video of Hopper being kicked out of a furry con, but evidence was located of Hopper at Califur. Besides violence, there is one more hint to share about his use of Inkbunny: Chat logs showed Hopper encouraging a fantasy of underage rape among teens in FKD. (A flag for those who know Inkbunny’s reputation.)
Hey Ohio and Indiana Furs!
Do you recognize this man? pic.twitter.com/nTlMKlpI9X
— Deo (@DeoTasDevil) August 21, 2017
Apparently persued a friend of mine for a couple years. Met at AC. Last contact was 5 or so years ago. Furry info has been forgotten\changed
— 💀Rïcky Spånîsh💀 (@Red_Monk3y) August 16, 2017
I literally have go pro video of this entire incident.
— Special Agent (@CaseyLupus) April 13, 2018
- UPDATE: Another old furry profile was located and confirmed as Dillon’s. His Furaffinity gallery shared a car video from a Dillon Hopper Youtube account with face video proof. There’s also an art commission of his fursona.
- In late 2020, Buzzfeed reported on Patriot Front and the recruiting activity, violence and arrests for this Vanguard America offshoot.
THE ALT-RIGHT ORIGINS AND INTENTIONS OF ALTFURRY – a reminder (update)
The fringe hate groups under the “altfurry” label are a constellation of closely tied bad actors covered by Dogpatch Press since 2017. This article covers their worst ties to hate activity outside the furry fandom. They always try to hide their true nature; here’s some key proof that Yes, They Are Real Nazis.
Organizer Len Gilbert (Casey Hoerth) co-founded the Altfurry Discord channels with his friend Nathan Gate (BigKK), the Richard Spencer associate from Unite the Right. The groups involved often break up and rebrand as if they are new, always with the same members, methods, and mission of hate.
The list could go on. The notorious white supremacist troll and Daily Stormer admin Andrew Auernheimer, AKA “Weev”, joined the Furry Raiders for a request to bring furries to rallies. He helped Daily Stormer founder Andrew Anglin draw attention to the effort. (Weev was also friendly with Andrew Dodson covered above.) The plan was to troll alt-right organizer Richard Spencer with public support from the Furry Raiders founder Foxler, who had reached out to Spencer.
Weev’s plan failed, but in 2018, Furry Raiders worked with alt-right figurehead Milo Yiannopoulos to try a similar stunt with Midwest Furfest. They had hopes to instigate street fighting with the Proud Boys. It was part of ongoing efforts to ruin furry conventions.
See the Furry Raiders chat group screenshot of Milo calling for convention attacks to “Sneps” (Jacob Kovar), one of Foxler’s closest associates and group admins. Kovar was arrested in December 2019 while trying to pull Dogpatch Press into a witness intimidation scheme while he was on parole for a heroin trafficking felony.
WHY IS THIS STILL A PROBLEM IN 2020?
These links should be the last word about “Furries can’t be nazis,” “crying wolf,” “you call everyone who disagrees a nazi”, “it’s just art”, etc. They’re just openly known links besides any in active investigation. The more that come out, the closer the chain connects.
COVID-19 is postponing many conventions this year. That can lower risk in real life, but raise opportunity for online organizing to surge back later.
After a few years of reporting about Altfurry/nazifurs, I’ve seen many groups flame out into small embers that still glow with hate. Some of them still want to appeal to centrists with a “hide your powerlevel” approach. Until they find opportunity, they act even more radicalized and dedicated to “redpilling”.
The “nazi furs fuck off” attitude has power, but it might only go as far as corralling these small groups on the fringe. Active attention matters. It seemed like things were on the right track when this happened in 2018: FurAffinity updates Code of Conduct, backlash by hate groups promoted by 2 Gryphon.
If Furaffinity now fails to do anything about promotion for a mass shooter, it’s like they made a policy but won’t enforce it, just to look like they have one. It says that they really care about traffic or looks, not users. It accommodates the chain of hate and “provoke but deny” tactics. There needs to be more than slogans and lip service to stop radicalizing from tipping over the edge.
- More reading: An incredible 2017 post about Unite The Right tells why to do what the punk scene learned about rejecting nazis.
- Unicorn Riot’s archive: over 160 far-right Discord servers give over 14,000 hits for “furries”.
- DeoTasDevil’s story: How White Nationalism Courts Internet Nerd Culture
- Must-hear podcast: Worst Year Ever — How The Furries Fought The Nazis and Won (for now).
@Furaffinity has a recurring problem with neo-nazi hate. FA has done some action but they're backsliding. I was asked to help about a post promoting the New Zealand shooter. It got 3-4 reports denied. Please report and keep asking them to act! @IMVU
— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) April 5, 2020
UPDATE: Furaffinity responded by moving to take down more posts promoting hate — AND posts that protest hate groups.
A few months after this story, civil rights activist Garrett Foster was murdered by right-wing furry fan Daniel Perry at a protest in Texas. Supporters used Perry’s Furaffinity profile to praise the killing before it was closed to comments.
Then the U.S. presidential election caused many alt-right furries to call for violence and revenge.
Perry is a right-wing extremist who killed #GarrettFoster. A witness confirms he threatened mourners at victim's vigil. Relevant to @furaffinity policy, followers used his furry profile to support violence:https://t.co/Kpx9NzGwjr
— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) August 6, 2020
When you hear fascists talk about "common sense", "free speech", "rational debate" etc, you can see what they really mean here from their chat on election day, before there were even results to have tantrums about. pic.twitter.com/abPiXLHN47
— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) November 6, 2020
Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, please follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on Patreon. Want to get involved? Share news on these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for anything — or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here.