Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week

Category: Journalism

Midwest Furfest 2014 chemical attack: Fur And Loathing podcast Episode 2 at scene of the crime

by Patch O'Furr

May 13, 2024: The second episode of Fur and Loathing is HERE (six episodes are coming out weekly.)

The 2014 chemical attack on Midwest Furfest was one of the largest in American history. 19 people were hospitalized. Nobody was charged and the case went cold. 10 years later, never-before-reported findings are here in this Furry True Crime podcast with journalist Nicky Woolf.

In the new Episode 2, Nicky visits Midwest Furfest and traces events in the 2014 police report, gaining unexpected insight. He gets immersed in furry culture with an insider guide, then introduces a complication that stalled the case. Until now.

Last week’s launch announcement had an exclusive interview for Dogpatch Press with Nicky and Patch O’Furr. A reader requested the transcript below. Come back for surprising developments in upcoming episodes.

TRANSCRIPT: EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW – lightly edited for clarity from the video

Read the rest of this entry »

Satanic Panic in Sacramento targets furries — media reports without consulting any furries

by Patch O'Furr

Zero (white) and partner Siro_Kami (blue)

A misunderstood person moves to a new place, and faces more misunderstanding, but uses creativity to stand proud and reach people who do understand.

It’s a tale told a million times, known by a million furries worldwide (and subcultures of every stripe.) It’s the tale of Frankenstein’s rejected creature, who finds kindness from a blind person, but has to run from the prejudice and torches of angry villagers.

It’s a tale that wasn’t told by a local CBS channel who only reported the villager’s side, “Furries” with satanic symbols spotted near Sacramento County elementary school, parents say. They didn’t talk to any furries they reported about, or mention resources about them for the media like Furscience, or the history of Satanic Panic spreading prejudice and harming schools and communities like theirs.

Read the rest of this entry »

BREAKING: Midwest Furfest 2014 chemical attack – new findings by Fur And Loathing podcast

by Patch O'Furr

May 6, 2024: The first episode of Fur and Loathing is HERE

Think you’ve heard everything about the 2014 chemical attack on Midwest Furfest? Wait until you hear this.

The intentional release of chlorine gas sent 19 people to the hospital. It was one of the largest chemical weapons terrorist attacks in American history.

Who did it? And… why?

The targets deserve to know, because they were lucky to survive. The weapon’s deadly potential was only avoided by fast response. The level of crime fell just behind the 2001 anthrax attacks, but strangely, nobody was ever charged for it. The story faded into underreporting, disrespect towards the community, murky rumors, and hopes that it won’t happen again. There’s pride in resilience — but 10 years later, justice wasn’t served. It’s the biggest cold case in furry fandom.

The case revived when investigation by Dogpatch Press drew journalist Nicky Woolf and Project Brazen to seek FBI records, identify suspects, and fly across America to interview sources. Nicky is a journalist who reports on internet culture, with stories in The Guardian, and his original podcast series Finding Q and The Sound: Mystery of the Havana Syndrome. Nicky and Brazen’s series Fur And Loathing delivers never-before reported findings to empower the community.

EXCLUSIVE: Nicky Woolf’s introduction for Dogpatch Press

Read the rest of this entry »

Gamepopper releases book Furtannia: The History of the Furry Fandom in the United Kingdom

by Dogpatch Press Staff

Hello, I’m Gamepopper, a British furry author of the newly released book Furtannia: The History of the Furry Fandom in the United Kingdom. Buy it at the link from Uncle Bear Publishing.

I’ve mentioned this book on Dogpatch Press in a guest article calling for preserving the furry fandom’s history, when it was under the (admittingly cheeky) working title of Furry Kingdom. This book tells a long and multi-faceted account of that history, but this time from the perspective of British furries.

The origins of the modern furry phenomenon can be traced to America — specifically, California — and it eventually grew and spread to other countries. The United Kingdom was one of the first places outside the United States to embrace Furry, but it wasn’t just a new discovery; a lot of media that inspired the modern-day fandom originated in England.

Furtannia covers that growth from the first housecons and furmeets in the UK, to conventions like ConFuzzled, and how they differ from American furcons. Along the way it covers unique British Furry media and events.

That growth was influenced by California fandom reaching towards an international presence almost since the beginning. In 1987, Mark Merlino, Rod O’Riley, and a few American fans hosted a furry hotel party in Brighton during the 45th World Science Fiction Convention. A handful of British science fiction and comic book fans travelled to the United States or purchased imported American comics, discovered the fandom, and kept in touch with each other.

Read the rest of this entry »

Confuror makes a crossroads for Latin American furries and international fandom.

by Patch O'Furr

2018 story The Diversity of the Latin American Furry Fandom is background for visiting Mexico’s largest furry con in October 2022.

Young Mexicans told me that Confuror has taken off to be their first full-fledged con and a beacon for fandom there. It succeeded after they only had meet-sized events that came and went, and wished for ones like North Americans have. The 2022 attendance surged after a first hotel con and then virtual cons for two years. There were 1,861 attendees, with 486 fursuiters at the fursuit festival. The charity auction raised 153,526 MXN (about $7,675 USD) to benefit a shark conservation NGO.

Read the rest of this entry »

Furries warn each other about casting call for “Life As a Furry” TV show

by Patch O'Furr

A reality show casting call is raising hackles. It presses a hot button of sensitive history. The media can inform and debunk fake news to help us all; but sometimes it lies to make a quick buck or serve the powerful.

(Skip this if you already know about “The Media.”) 

A dogma exists among furries that reporting is offensive, rather than anger at offensive reporting. Dogma can hurt us too, but it started with real offenses. See 2003’s furry-themed episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. It spread a broad caricature of a pathetic loser who donned a cheap costume for sex, which is unfair to those of us who are highly accomplished and sexy in costume or out.

The bad image peaked when internet furries caught notice around 2000. CSI, MTV, Vanity Fair, and others aired exploitation (which isn’t always bad — think cult movies — except when it’s malicious and pretends to be more real than it is.) It ebbed as furry conventions exploded in size. Around 2015 there was a thaw. Nice, well-researched reporting came from independent outlets like Vice and ones as powerful as CNN. Then came the 2022 election and the revival of smear tactics. This time it was maliciously from the right-wing to pit red state voters against minorities. Transphobia spiked up and furries were like stand-ins for the weird, gay boogeyman of tolerance. Debunking fake news about school litter boxes didn’t stop it from repeating. One hit piece by Daily Wire christofascist Matt Walsh used false pretenses to recruit trans people like fandom member Naia Okami.

On the heels of recent attacks: Casting Call Concern

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

“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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Origins of an urban legend: “litter boxes for furries” joke gets revived for moral panic

by Patch O'Furr

Update: Thanks to The Daily Beast for linking this and quoting me. – Patch

No school ever had litter boxes for students who identify as animals. So how did the rumor explode into mainstream consciousness, like bad diarrhea from a diet of concern trolling and right-wing blogs?

In January 2022, the malodorous myth rose from local news in Michigan to the New York Times: Litter Boxes for Students Who Identify as Furries? Not So, Says School Official. Furries in the Times is a rare achievement. (Check the 1996 example at bottom of this story.) That isn’t simply debunking, it also has cultural potency for a post-truth era full of flat-earthism and Qanon cults.

I can’t count how many headlines there were about one incident. One is just absurd, but it keeps happening. That shows cynical calculation by Otherphobes. They’re demonizing minorities by proxy, with a target behind the target. It’s a cousin to transphobic memes like “I sexually identify as an attack helicopter” using weirdos to make it easier to swallow. But before we digest that, let’s go to the splatter zone and trace the patterns.

At Dogpatch Press, I’m obsessive about tracking media mentions and memes, and we also do debunking — like for a misinterpreted “nazi furries” photo — and I’d been asked to trace the old litter box myth before. So I dug deeper than the mainstream news. Furry News has the real shit.

The oldest mainstream source I found is in this 2008 photo from Anthrocon in Pittsburgh. He’s a broadcaster named Bob who likes furries, although it’s complicated. More on Bob in a minute.

Read the rest of this entry »

Anti-LGBT Russian government morality activist visits and harasses fursuit walkers

by Patch O'Furr

From the fursuit walk in a video posted by Skip Doggy on Russian social media. SEE Q&A at BOTTOM about the walk.

“Here it is – the price to be a representative of the Moscow Furry Fandom.”

Furry fan @Matvey_Muhin has a story that goes with media reports like this one from PinkNews: “Russia considers officially branding LGBT+ groups and furries as ‘extremists’“.

BACKGROUND: The reports look at political homophobia in the Russian government, and a commission that claims to protect morality. The reports say the commission chairman, Andrey Tsyganov, called for the government to help law enforcement by listing ideologies on their extremism list. The list includes the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, and the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) of Alexey Navalny, a jailed opponent of Russian president Vladimir Putin. Listing these groups allows banning related gatherings and media, and Putin has been using it to squash his political foes.

That’s how Tsyganov wants to legally discriminate against LGBT people, supposedly to protect kids from “propaganda” — making it extremist to discuss LGBT people breathing and existing, as if they come from recruiting. The logic shows conservative belief of what a family should be, with a goal to enforce it by squashing LGBT people. Straight families with children are supposed to thrive through this false understanding of how sexuality works. They could just as soon seek power by squashing interracial dating.

Tsyganov started with such a reach, and blasted off from earth like Sputnik when he added LGBT+, radical feminist, child-free groups… and furries.

What’s the problem with furries, again? The logic is: (1) People on the internet make weird porn. (2) Some of them are furries. (3) Fandom freedom includes tolerance for LGBT expression. (4) Kids are in trouble while those exist. Those things don’t necessarily overlap, but it raises stereotyping about non-traditional gender and sexuality. This got furry porn site e621 banned in Russia (an easy target that shows the government was already watching.)

Furries face such attitudes rooted in old bigotry. Of course fandom isn’t exactly an identity, but it makes a community. Targeting their expression is just around the corner from direct homophobia. Compare how in the 1970’s, Disco music was targeted for being made by LGBT and minority people, even if the music itself is just music. So if furries belong on an “extremist” list, imagine getting attacked for dancing to the Ra-Ra-Rasputin song!

@Matvey_Muhin faced this with fellow furry Skip Doggy. He wrote:

“Can you imagine that Andrei Tsyganov came to our furry walk Tsaritsyno, Kolomeskaya. He continued to accuse us of pedophilia in front of children. But Skip drove him away. When a high-level official comes to us personally, it shows his madness. Long story short – the Christian radical and anti-vaxer is attacking us (especially me and Skip). Here it is – the price to be a representative of the Moscow Furry Fandom.”

Read the rest of this entry »