Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week

Category: Current events

Fur Affinity bans AI-generated art, but AI has a plot to return.

by Patch O'Furr

Policy update from the furry fandom’s main independent art site.

AI art tools made me think of a term: sequential juxtaposition acceleration.

An AI tool starts with scraping millions of pre-made images from the net. That’s a learning set to combine and interpolate. Prompt it with key words (green grass, old building), and you get approximations of everything that matches. One could call this a form of cheating artists, because people don’t like the scraping of pre-made sources without permission. But after they combine, the output is nothing that ever existed. That’s doing what any artist does to learn from reference, but in a wholesale, industrial way that wasn’t envisioned by the current creative property system.

Back to that problem in a minute, but first think about art context.

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DEBUNKING: The Asheville bomb arrest, Confederate Fursuiter, and Midwest Furfest attack

by Patch O'Furr

Robert “Magnus Diridian” Sojkowski

The 2014 Midwest Furfest chemical attack is one of the biggest unsolved crimes in furry fandom. It has a main suspect who was raided by the FBI, and they found physical evidence (read below). His name is Robert “Magnus Diridian” Sojkowski, also known as the Confederate Fursuiter.

In separate news from July 2022, two men in Asheville, North Carolina face terror charges in a bomb incident. One is a furry and subject of online rumors. His name is Chioke “Tech Coyote” Fugate.

That’s two separate crimes, with two separate suspects… but when the news about Fugate came out, rumors named him as the Confederate Fursuiter. This is critically misleading. Sojkowski made the suit in 2015 and stayed the ongoing owner and wearer, so the identity belongs to him. The mixup came from a meeting in 2017 where Fugate took photos with the suit and possibly wore it once. Why is it a big deal? It led to falsely naming Fugate for the Midwest Furfest attack he had nothing to do with (he was 14 in 2014).

Huge Twitter accounts fueled rumors that Fugate “was the one behind the MFF Chlorine bombing years back” (1) (2) (3), causing many deletions and corrections (4) (5) (6). It’s critical to untangle the two suspects. Remember, the mixup would help both to deny and mislead — and both have records of doing exactly that — so let’s set the record straight.

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Fearless Furries Celebrate 20 Years at San Francisco Pride

by Patch O'Furr

Photo by AniMajor

Sunday, June 26 marked 20 years of furries at San Francisco Pride. (See the 2019 event and history or the Pride tag for more.) The Norcal Furries made a welcome return after no official parade marching for 2 years of a pandemic. They brought their own float, and it all came together so smoothly, it made an incredibly positive memory.

The biggest change from past years was no longer using rental trucks or Burning Man art cars. This year, Norcal Furries built their own float on a trailer. It was a wonderful asset. Using other people’s was always less than ideal (constrained by costs, time and logistics for loading/unloading, and even height with streetcar wires). All of that was easier under self management.

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Furries at Toronto Pride: “one of the largest marching groups of the entire parade”

by Arrkay

Welcome to Arrkay, a member of the Toronto furry scene (home of Furnal Equinox), and the bird who creates and produces Culturally F’d, a Youtube show that explores anthropomorphic artwork throughout history, culture and mass media. See Arrkay’s tag for previous stories. He’s sharing his story today by request of Patch who just marched with furries at San Francisco Pride. Here’s Arrkay’s on-the-scene report from Toronto Pride.

It was a terribly populated affair, with covid still ringing in the back of my head. Pride in Toronto was as busy as ever. Me and my partner just walked the street fair once, which was enough to satiate our curiosity and for me to buy some new sunglasses. It’s a strangely foreign feeling seeing this many unmasked people in one place.

Parade morning

My signs were made, and my flag was bundled up into my tricycle with water bottles, lunch, a vape pen of mint flavored cannabis and sunscreen. My outfit was a second-hand hyena agenda tank top, some compression shorts usually worn for fursuiting but with a complimentary jockstrap on top. I zip-tied a flag and protest signs to my trike. “Learn Queer History” and “Teach Queer History” with taglines “Always been here, always will be” and “No More Shit!” (a rallying cry from the 80’s bathhouse riots in Toronto).

Cardboard signs that read "Teach Queer History, always been here, always will be" and "Learn Queer History, No more shit!"

A crowd of furries accumulated near the group check-in site. Unfortunately it was nowhere near where we were supposed to muster. Not that it ultimately mattered, we wouldn’t be marching for a couple more hours. Navigating the dense crowd with a large orange trike was difficult, but everyone was generally polite and made way for our slow moving group of animal headed queers.

One of the groups we shouldered our way past was the New Democratic Party, with leader Jagmeet Singh visible with his pink turban.

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Furries return to the 2022 San Francisco Pride parade

by Patch O'Furr

Coming Sunday June 26, 2022

The SF Bay Area has the world’s most dense population of furries, but back in 2012, SF Pride didn’t have activities for the love of anthropomorphic animals. They had a parade contingent in 2002-2005, but it needed help to start again. (See a 2002 video or the Pride tag for more history.) 

Whose job is it to make it happen? Everyone’s. In 2012-2019 I was one of the organizers for award-winning floats in the parade, with hundreds of supporters and members. In 2019 (the second year to get an award) we won “Absolutely Outrageous” out of more than 200 parade contingents. The parade was interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, but finally, it’s here again.

The Nor Cal Furries are going this weekend with a new trailer, built by @Zoren and @MrDisk0Dog and funded by community donations and volunteers to give everyone an experience to remember. (Funds still accepted, anything extra will pay forward.) Here’s how great it was in 2019:

PARADE INFO FOR THE FURRY CONTINGENT:

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Russian police raid Moscow furry meet – fandom sees rising oppression.

by Patch O'Furr

Furries and freedom are the common topic between an incident in America and one in Russia. This builds on previous stories of anti-LGBT harassment and opposing war in furry news on Dogpatch Press.

Let’s start close to home for many readers. Across America, right-wing attacks have been punching through furries to strike LGBT rights. These attacks are based on debunked hoaxes, but in May, one caused real damage in a Wyoming school district. A board member mocked furries and ignored bullied students while the district removed anti-discrimination protection for LGBT people. This shows the rising stakes for anyone included in Pride month, which many furries count as part of their fandom and freedom. These attacks are starting small to aim for a big goal that already exists in Russia.

Across Russia, LGBT people have no protection. Russia’s government treats LGBT identity as a political stance for just… existing. Meanwhile, they’re threatened and forced to hide. But Russians can’t easily protest for rights without punishment. It’s also dangerous to show anti-war beliefs, especially if a group is already disfavored. Their free speech is oppressed as anti-government.

Under these conditions, police raided a furry meet in Moscow. It was first reported by OVD Info, a human rights org that monitors political persecution in Russia:

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“Furries in Schools” Hoax Map documents a moral panic to attack LGBT people by proxy.

by Patch O'Furr

False reports about students “identifying as animals” and demanding unusual accommodations are like a resurrection of the 1980’s Satanic Panic. The public is being targeted with a wave of misinformation and greedy grabbing for views, at the expense of furry fans, public education, and LGBTQ people in general.

What better way to face bullying than to document it, and connect debunkers outside the community to watchdogs inside? Responsible journalists, take note!

Here’s a new resource from Troj, a furry fan, psychologist and researcher from Colorado: “I started making a map of school boards and regions that have courted the “litter box” myth and related urban legends about furries.” (They’re mainly American myths, but even reach Australia.)

Each point on the map has a note with details (check them for links to sources), and date of media coverage or earliest mention of a given urban legend. Similar myths are roughly grouped by color. They keep coming: at date of writing, one in North Carolina is too fresh to appear yet.

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Zoosadist arrest in Australia shows successful internet investigation.

by Patch O'Furr

A police raid and arrest in Australia is being added to the Dogpatch Press tag for zoosadism (which investigates animal cruelty, and the black market of animal “crush” and shock media.) The raid found “a significant number of videos depicting animal cruelty and bestiality”. Details of the abuse are so bad, that lawyers representing the suspect asked a court to suppress them, to limit publicity and avoid tainting a jury. Having read details, I would call them among the worst seen in years of covering the news. Evidence of deadly violence that surfaced on the net was judged extreme even to fringe shock groups.

The raid was in McMinns Lagoon, a rural area of about 800 residents outside Darwin in the Northern Territory, near Yarrawonga, Girraween, Zuccoli, Wak Wak, Bees Creek, and Humpty Doo.

Fandom connections and investigators.

This isn’t an isolated crime; it’s part of a trend backed by data. In recent years, zoosadists have been able to network like never before with technology for stealthy media trading. The trend has led to outlawing bestiality state by state in the USA, and making animal crush federally illegal with the 2019 PACT act. But far too often, they get away with it…

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Conventions warn furries of repeat scammer from 2015 “Traceponies” scandal

by Patch O'Furr

Updated with new info (5/9/22)

A scam is targeting furry convention goers and vendors. It’s named Furry Swap Meet. Cons and fandom lawyers like Boozy Badger and Buddy Goodboy are putting out Bewares. The scam is advertising “partner” events to coincide with official events, but there’s no real partnership. It’s trying to use false impressions to rent dealer tables, compete with cons for attendance, exploit their hard work and ride their coat tails.

This isn’t a single-source complaint; it’s a united warning from many official channels. But after you read them, there’s way more to tell you. They don’t connect the history of greedy line-pushing by a practiced serial scammer behind it. You can connect the dots from this furry news story. Even if you don’t need bewares, it’s a fascinating case for how much manipulation a fandom can harbor.

Updated with thread — A gracious thank-you to Buddy Goodboy for research and alerting the public too.

Jeffery Neil Wacaster is the person behind Furry Swap Meet, AKA Hot Fudge Husky / Neil Fox.

Jeffery Neil Wacaster — previously known as “Drawponies” — was rejected out of the My Little Pony fandom in 2015 for his “Traceponies” scandal (more on that soon). He then pivoted to furry fandom, bringing the same old tricks under a new brand. It worked, because furries haven’t reacted or documented things like bronies did. Then came problem after problem after problem…

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A new era for Artworktee, a standout fandom merchandise brand with new owners

by Patch O'Furr

Establishing a brand across many convention dealer dens is a big deal for the personalized, self-creating furry fandom. Artworktee has grown an impressive presence for serving furries with merchandise made within and representing them. It hasn’t always been smooth, but things are looking up.

“We’re not a 7-figure company”, laughs the new owner Raphael when I ask about the size and how many staff they have. “Well actually it was at one point when Neil ran it, but we’re reorganizing.”

Raphael is attentive on the phone, with an easy laugh and straightforward answers about business structure. He’s based in California and took over Artworktee in mid-2021, since the company went bankrupt after running for several years under original founder Neil Wacaster.

The 2020 bankruptcy followed losses from Midwest Furfest plans that went badly (that’s no surprise with the Covid-19 pandemic); and a “Kickstarter debacle”. Readers who follow the turbulence of social media may be familiar with controversy about Wacaster’s practices that had coverage here — (with some charitable understanding for staff and artists invested in using Artworktee) — but the bankruptcy and reorganization took Wacaster out of ownership.

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