Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week Day

Category: Journalism

Furries, frat party, or hate group? Atlantic City Fur Con has an identity crisis.

by Patch O'Furr

In February 2018, Radfox, a New Jersey furry, helped a small group of friends meet for a fun weekend party in a room suite at a casino. The success led Radfox to launch a real convention for a future date. The ad-hoc trial run was named Atlantic City Fur Con.

Behind the scenes, trouble was baked in from the start. Some members seemed to consider the purpose of the con to be frat-style partying and being “offensive“. This comment came in with the original story tip:

Apparently it was bad – lots of noise complaints, there was thousands of dollars in hotel damage. Someone pushed someone into the shower which broke the nozzle or something. Caused MAJOR water damage. It went through multiple floors and into the kitchen.

Review of the Telegram group for the event found lengthy discussion about thousands in damage. A pipe was broken and flooded 12 floors of the hotel.

This is only a minor part of the story. We’ve all made mistakes and had bad luck, and it’s only money, right? It’s not bad like trashing a person.

Radfox was asked for comment by direct message on Twitter on 2/24/18. He told me: “Everyone had a good time and kept within reason, there were no incidents with the hotel or their security.” I asked him again: is it really true there were no incidents with the hotel or their security? His last reply before blocking messages:

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The Diversity of the Latin American Furry Fandom – by Rama and Patch.

by Patch O'Furr

This started with a guest submission by Rama the Golden Liger, a fur in Honduras. I collaborated with a lot of editing to smooth out the language and add extra info and another point of view. Fred Patten helped connect with even more furries who sent info at his request. Thanks Rama and Fred! – Patch

The Diversity of the Latin American Furry Fandom

We know how furry fandom started in the U.S.  As it grew there, the mainstream media, the internet, its memes and popular YouTubers, and other influences put the fandom within a stone’s throw for many young people. Now across borders, different cultures are experiencing a growth of furry fandom among many international influences they already have.

Latin American furries are a result of all this exposure.  The internet helped many young people get interested in the art, behavior, and culture of the furry creatures they see on the screen.  Many Hispanic furry fans are males mostly from around age 15 to their 20’s.  They came across fandom through friends, memes, anime, manga, and fan art.  There are popular YouTubers like Khazoo, who spread the term “furry” through his videos.  Of course, there was also Zootopia spreading popularity of anthropomorphic animals around the world.

(Patch): International reach reminds me of studying animation under an “old master” who in 1989, helped lead a nonprofit mission to Latin American countries to reduce AIDs among street children. They traveled around to test screen educational cartoons on the side of a van. The audience was poor kids who were vulnerable to exploitation and had low access to schools. The films they were shown were life saving, and most importantly to this story, the language of cartoons was universal across borders to all levels of literacy. Of course internet users in 2018 are the main topic here.

Khazoo is an example of how furryness spreads now. This teenage Spanish-language Youtuber from Mexico may not be known to English speakers. He was born in 1999 and only uploaded his first video in 2016, but soared to 31.5K followers on Twitter and nearly 600,000 youtube subscribers so far – much more than any specifically furry internet celebrity! How did he start? According to a wiki about him (use Chrome/Google Translate), Khazoo started with general teen audience content like gaming and cartoons. While he joked about being in love with Judy Hopps, fans called him “furry” but he denied it, until finally admitting it to everyone – a story I’m sure we can all laugh about in any language! 

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Magnus Diridian asked for an interview, so we talked about an attack on a convention.

by Patch O'Furr

An unresolved issue

You may know Magnus Diridian (AKA Rob Shokawsky) as “The Confederate fursuiter” who’s banned from furry conventions. What happens after being arrested for trespassing at Midwest FurFest 2017, and featuring in a news article about troll activity? How about a challenge to clear the air and explain things. That is, if a simple case of people being bothered by unwanted behavior needs any further explanation at all.

There don’t seem to be many people asking for it. But long story short, Magnus got in trouble and wanted to explain. I took the opportunity to talk, but not in the way he hoped. Honestly I’m not interested in rehashing what everyone already read about the 2017 arrest. He’ll have his day in court.  Something else was an open and bothersome issue, and I focused on that instead.  The previous article only hinted about it. Now I’m going to be really direct.

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Florida furry dead, police hunt serial killer.

by Patch O'Furr

Anthony, AKA James Firefox, was age 20. As a furry fan, he shared fandom creativity through music.  As a person, media reports say he was autistic, but reaching for independence. Public buses in his neighborhood in Tampa, Florida took him to his job where he was packaging hurricane relief supplies.  A light glance at his online profiles shows that he expressed frustration about social difficulties, but seemed to find a lot of happiness with music, cartoons and furry art.  Sometimes it was edgy but other parts showed self awareness like criticizing memes about the las vegas shooting out of sensitivity for others.

On October 19, he got on an unfamiliar bus line when his usual one was shut down. He ended up in the proverbial wrong place at the wrong time and became an unlucky statistic. He was the third victim of a series of shootings in Tampa’s Seminole Heights neighborhood that appear to be done by a serial killer.

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R.C. Fox arrested for child pornography, furries question fandom connections.

by Patch O'Furr

High profile fur R.C. Fox is in legal trouble. When interviewed by police outside his home, “he admitted there ‘might be some’ child pornography on his computer” and “he has ‘a very small interest in’ pornography depicting children and admitted to having about 50 videos containing it on his computer.”  R.C. was known for meet organizing and media appearances that bring a spotlight now. Here’s a long video about it by Ragehound. The case is in court.

It brought in a reader tip – (thanks Meow Mix):

Recently there’s been some furries involved in meets and cons popping up in the news for pedophilia and child porn. There’s the RebelWolf/LupineFox ring, and more recently R.C. Fox has been charged with child porn possession. (Location/photo/birthdate in the news matches R.C. Fox).

These sorts of charges have come down on furries before, and the fandom has in the past welcomed such people back, only for them to offend again. One of the more well known cases is Growly, convicted in 2001 of having sex with a 14 year old, and after release was banned from furaffinity for a conversation with a 16 year old. Despite this, he still is allowed to volunteer for conventions and furmeets.

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Yiff Panic? Judgement in a Connecticut town shows it’s still not safe to be openly furry.

by Patch O'Furr

“Through Being Cool” by Devo

We’re through being cool
We’re through being cool

Eliminate the ninnies and the twits
Going to bang some heads
Going to beat some butts
Time to show those evil spuds what’s what

If you live in a small town
You might meet a dozen or two
Young alien types who step out
And dare to declare

We’re through being cool

In three stories I’m sharing today, look for small-town closed-mindedness.  It’s a force that propels many furries. If you’re young, have a big imagination and live in a place that can’t contain it, what do you do? Make friends out there in the furry world.  That was me in the mid-to-late 90’s (Woof! It sure wasn’t a phase), so there’s no lack of personal experience for the connections I’m making.

These stories happened in smallish cities near New England: West Windsor NJ (population 27,000), Burlington VT (population 42,000), and – in this week’s news – New Milford CT (population 28,000). They show a bit of honest-to-dog political fursecution.

OK, they aren’t black and white. They have debatable issues about behavior like 1) throwing an overstuffed party, 2) regulating hate groups, or 3) representing political constituents with an acceptable image. But then there’s freedom to have fun and hobbies (or even express private, consenting kinks), instead of being forced into a closet made of overbearing judgement. Who was really harmed in these stories – judgers, or furries themselves?

While you read, stay positive. New Milford is the closest location to the new Tiny Paws con, this weekend. They can’t hold furries down!

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Charlottesville marcher linked to furry fandom and neo-nazi organizing.

by Patch O'Furr

Here’s a followup to previous coverage of the tiny alt-right fringe of furry fandom (Altfurry).  See: 1) Altfurry supports neo-nazi violence, with member Nathan Gate on camera in Charlottesville. And 2) Furries resist hate, Altfurry Discord logs go public, Casey Hoerth removed by employers. Hate isn’t being welcomed, and this is the third furry name in a headline about it here.

UPDATE AND STATEMENT 3/20/18:

The article subject, Andrew, passed away on 3/9/18. The contents have been removed and archived at this link.

This article uncovered very sensitive information that added to coverage about him in mainstream media. This was the original source to identify him in a video of actively participating in a violent neo-nazi march.

After September 2017, Andrew appeared to want to escape public exposure. He made efforts to claim he had a change of heart or was a victim himself. That wasn’t supported with evidence of insincerity and continuing negative behavior (both published and confidential).

For that reason the archive link is provided. It’s a very serious issue for a news source to remove published records. There needs to be public discussion about hate groups and their deadly consequences, without coverup or historical revisionism. It’s sad that such groups attract people who want belonging, but an adult’s decisions are their own. All readers are asked to leave family and friends of Andrew alone and allow them privacy.

Vice News and furries, the Fullerton murder story, and “sensational media”.

by Patch O'Furr

Vice’s Furries topic has excellent news reporting. You can find a few missteps, but it has some of the best focused attention that the media has ever given to the fandom, way beyond Furries 101.  One outstanding article is CSI Fur Fest: The Unsolved Case of the Gas Attack at a Furry Convention. Writer Jennifer Swann got an Ursa Major award nomination for it.  Their most recent is Who Makes Those Intricate, Expensive Furry Suits? (Fred Patten and myself were proud to assist writer Mark Hay – I sent a long summary of history, makers, details to investigate, and links.)

Those show that not all media is bad, and talking to them has good results. That’s different from prevailing attitudes against “sensationalism” that blindly treats “the media” as an epithet – as if PBS is the same as the National Enquirer. There’s a world of difference between trashy daytime TV and well-researched long-form reporting. But a fandom grudge persists, for as long as 16 years after stale old incidents we all know and hate. There’s even backlash at members who step out of line. This friend of ours experienced it:

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Call for help with the Fullerton Murder story; and The Furry Code Of Silence.

by Patch O'Furr

Furry reached new heights in 2016. Disney came to our party.  There was a low point of a chemical attack on Midwest FurFest that turned into a high quality Vice News story.  Notice the title, “CSI Fur Fest” – I’d like to think it was chosen to make up for the other CSI, who did us a disservice. But this time “the media” earned a nomination for a 2016 Ursa Major award.

It was cool that Vice did that story. The media was on our side.  That’s the theme of this post.

In 2017, there was the unreal experience of Furry Nazis grabbing the wheel for a minute and making us swerve into no-man’s land.  Maybe we’re getting back on track, but don’t relax.  Those headlines were rough, but rougher ones are coming.

Look at California, where you might say Furry Fandom really got started. In SoCal, the Skiltaire House is where you can hang out with the founders of the first convention and have a friendly night of fursuiting or watching animation.  That’s where Jennifer Yost was known as a mom to others, including her daughter Daydreamer Fox. They went together.

One day in the fall of 2016, Daydreamer went missing. The Skiltaire put out an alert. I shared it and got contact from a reporter. Then Daydreamer was found. It wasn’t a missing person alert any more. The Yost parents and a family friend were dead and two other kids were orphaned.

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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.)

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