There is a subset of furry culture that sexualizes anthropomorphized animals, and unfortunately, the entire fandom is often equated with fetishism.
Some furries dress in full-length costumes and have elaborate "fursonas," while others are content to take on animal identities and names, or just consume anthropomorphic literature and comics. At its core, the fandom consists of people who identify with anthropomorphized animals. In other words, it's not always sexual.
1. The Furred Reich! Furry annual convention cancelled amid community's bitter divisions over rise of alleged neo-Nazi Mr 'Foxler' and the 'altfur' movement
In shocking news, the Rocky Mountain Fur Con, the annual event that brings together furries, has been canceled after a splinter group known as the Furry Raiders came under fire for embracing 'altfur' symbols similar to those of Nazis and fascists.
The chairman of the event posted a message on Twitter saying that the Furry Raiders have started to promote intolerance within the furry community.
'The furry community and Rocky Mountain Fur Con have always strived to be a place of inclusion; a place where furs from all walks of life, differing religious, political, social and personal views can come together to celebrate the thing that we have in common, the love of our fandom,' wrote Sorin, the chairman of Rocky Mountain Fur Con.
Furries are anthropomorphic animal characters, meaning they have human qualities or characteristics, that can be any member of the animal kingdom - including the non-furry ones.
Those in the furry fandom often create their own character, a fursona they'll adopt in furry online communities, and fursuiters will create a costume specifically for that identity.
Now the furry community has been torn asunder by accusations that the Furry Raiders are flirting with fascism.
Their leader, Foxler, dresses in a fox suit with an armband that bears a paw print, though critics say there is too strong a resemblance to the swastika.
Despite the armband and a picture that surfaced on Twitter showing him lifting his arm in what looks like a Nazi salute, Foxler denied that he is advocating neo-Nazi ideology, according to The Daily Beast.
Nonetheless, there has been a rise in fascist furries that has alarmed many in the community.
'[The Furry Raiders] are an organization with a very confusing past and a very confusing history,' Zachary Brooks, the chairman of the Fur Con, told The Daily Beast.
'The community had taken a lot of issue regarding some symbolism that the head of the Furry Raiders had chosen to utilize for his group. It was causing a lot of controversy.'
'People overreacted [to the paw print armband],' he told The Denver Post.
'As it got more and more heated, people started talking about beating up people wearing the symbol.'
'They said "We've got a right to protect ourselves and we are going to bring weapons".'
The threats of violence forced convention organizers to require more security, the cost of which turned out to be prohibitive.
The Furry Raiders angered their furry brethren when they snatched up a large bloc of hotel rooms for the scheduled convention in Denver.
Brooks said that reserving the large number of rooms amounted to 'a power grab' meant to dilute the influence of other organizations at the convention.
'It ended up being a significant portion of rooms that prevented our other attendees from coming in and enjoying the convention,' Brooks told The Daily Beast.
'It was seen by many as a malicious act by them to try to control who could and couldn't attend. So that's what really began the controversy with them.'
When news of the Furry Raiders' massive bookings spread throughout the community, it sparked a backlash 'antifa furry' movement.
The rising anti-fascist movement operated under the banner 'Nazi Furs F*** Off' – and the protest began to grow online.
One 'fursona,' Deo, even tweeted a joke saying that she 'couldn't wait to punch these Nazis.'
The joke was inspired by the incident in which Richard Spencer, a white alt-right nationalist, was filmed being punched in the face during a protest march in Washington, DC.
The convention was scheduled to take place on August 11.
Its organizers were also found to have been affiliated with the 'sovereign citizens' movement, which advocates a refusal to pay taxes.
2. Chlorine gas sickens 19 at a Chicago furry convention
Chlorine gas sickened several people and forced the evacuation of thousands of guests at Midwest FurFest 2014 in Chicago. Nineteen people were treated at local hospitals, and the Hyatt Regency O'Hare was decontaminated.
The contaminating agent, chlorine powder (the oxidizing chemical commonly used as a cleaning agent in swimming pools), was left in a ninth-floor stairwell of the hotel.
MidWest FurFest is the second largest gathering of people who are interested, according to the website for Midwest Furry Fandom, Inc., in “facilitat[ing] education in anthropomorphic literature, art and performance.”
The source of the poisoning remains a mystery.
3. Woman Brings Dog To Furry Convention, Thinking It’s A Gathering For Pets
Cheryl Wassus of Monroe, Michigan, is a volunteer with Pets for Vets, a nonprofit that matches therapy dogs with military veterans. When Wassus learned that Motor City Furry Con in Novi, Michigan, was raising money for the organization, she assumed it must be a pet-themed convention.
It was a reasonable mistake. For those unaware, furries are people who enjoy dressing up in anthropomorphic animal costumes and role-playing. That’s not what Wassus or Link — who has training as a therapy dog — expected.
Wassus’ son, New York Media producer Kenny Wassus, tweeted some incredible photos of the mix-up on Saturday.
4. Cereal offenders: Tony the Tiger begs furries to stop tweeting him porn
The definition of the term “furry” is contested, even among furries themselves, but it usually refers to the fandom of people who identify with, roleplay as, and usually wear fursuits to mimic, anthropomorphised cartoon animals. It’s not a sex thing. At least, it’s not always a sex thing. Basically, if the suave Disney version of Robin Hood – who is a literal fox – spoke to you on a romantic level, you may appreciate where they’re coming from.
Of course, as an anthropomorphised cartoon animal, Tony the Tiger is the daddy of all furries, and so there’s a fair amount of artwork featuring him. This artwork is not always safe for work. It also seems fair to assume that Kellogg’s does not want its brand to be associated with – say – a picture of an extremely muscly Tony, naked save for his neckerchief, masturbating on an exercise bench.
So three days ago Kellogg’s started blocking the furries en masse. Even ones who weren’t posting porn. Even, it seems, ones who hadn’t even said anything to Tony on Twitter.
5. Syrian refugees in Canada got housed in same hotel as VancouFur furry convention and the children loved it
A message was given to all attendees at the convention that the hotel had been chosen as one of the temporary housing locations for the Syrian refugees in Canada, and that “a major concern that VancouFur has is ensuring that each and every one of the refugees (and attendees) feels welcome and safe and the fact that this is likely to be a major shock to them”.
“Keep in mind that they likely will not want to interact with you and consent is important to everyone,” the message added.
But luckily for everyone involved, the refugees – especially the children – loved it.
Photos from the event show Syrian children playing with the furries or posing for pictures with them.
6. Furry Community Shocked After Gory Triple Murder
The story soon attracted national attention, after it was revealed that Jennifer and Katlynn were part of Southern California's furry subculture – dedicated fans of anthropomorphized animals who typically flock to cartoons and fan fiction depicting adorable animals that walk on two feet – as were the two men arrested for the murder.
Now, despite no reported evidence that their joint interest in the fur community was a motive for the murders, the incident is causing concern among furries already sick of defending the scene from negative stereotypes. They worry that the tragedy will become a joke to the general public, like a 2014 chlorine gas attack at Midwest Furfest did, when MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski was unable to keep a straight face after she learned, on-camera, about furries. The reporter had to rush off set, unable to contain her laughter – despite reporting on a terrorist incident that left 19 people hospitalized.
"I think it really is the worst thing that ever happened with ties to this community," blogger Patch O'Furr wrote on the furry news site Dogpatch Press, referring to the Fullerton murders. "It's not that unusual compared to other crimes that happen in cities, but I think it's disproportionately big to a niche group."
"We are devastated and very angry," Melinda Giles, a friend of the Yosts and a member of the fur community, told the Orange County Register. "It's a really bad situation. We are canceling events out of respect to mourn and lot of outside negativity. That's not what we are about. We very fun-loving. It's not a lifestyle that's deviant."
Because a subset of furry culture sexualizes anthropomorphized animals, the entire fur fandom is sometimes equated with fetishism. The truth is, in fact, much more innocent. Some furries dress in full-length costumes and bear elaborate "fursonas," attending conventions and meeting each other on dedicated dating sites, while others are content to take on animal identities and names, or just consume anthropomorphic literature and comics. At its core, the furry fandom simply consists of people who identify with anthropomorphized animals.
In online forums, some fans expressed fears that the murders' link to the community could "represent the fandom negatively" – and some questioned why this aspect of their lives needed to be mentioned at all. One Reddit user snarkily commented, "Great ... now CSI might do something with furries again," referring to the CBS procedural's 2003 episode "Fur and Loathing," which revolved around a sex-crazed furry group.
A GoFundMe site has been set up for the young children of the Yosts, as well as one for the 5-year-old son of victim Billy Boucher. Acosta and Felix are being held without bail and are scheduled back in court on October 28th.
7. 'Morning Joe' Easter Bunny Segment Gets Weird When Mika Brings Up 'Furries'
"But Easter Bunnies like that are not furries? There's a difference?" Mika Brzezinski asked after they gazed at a photo of former President George W. Bush posing with a person in a bunny costume.
"Definitely. Very important distinction," NBC personality Willy Geist said. "The Easter Bunny is the Easter Bunny, a sweet representation of a wonderful holiday."
For those not familiar with the term, a furry is a sexual fetish in which people have sex dressed in animal costumes.
"Don't use words you don't understand," co-host Joe Scarborough said. And he seemed to be the most bothered by Brzezinski bringing up the subject.
"We got kids," Scarborough said while his co-host repeated, "I don't get it. It doesn't make any sense."
"Hey kids, how are you?" Scarborough said into the camera. "We're not going to get off the topic."
And they did. Briefly.
But later on in the show when they had a guest to talk about the Easter Bunny in the White House, Brzezinski couldn't let the topic go.
"So you guys are asking the same question I'm asking, but you're not letting me ask it," Brzezinski said.
"But we're not bringing that other stuff into it like you are," Scarborough said.
Then their guest dropped this bomb: "I was in a presidential motorcade once through Pittsburgh and there was a furries convention and they were all waving."
Needless to say, Brzezinski was fascinated and had questions. Unfortunately, TooFab couldn't find video of the awkward moment, but we do have the moment (below) Brzezinski's interest in furries began -- two years ago, when the MSNBC morning personality first learned such things existed in this strange world.
8. Disney Is Marketing Zootopia to Furries, Which Is Genius
BuzzFeed’s Katie Notopoulos uncovered proof that at least one marketing agency hired by Disney to promote the film is reaching out to the furry community:
BuzzFeed News has obtained an email that a marketing agency working with Disney sent to the furry Meetup group Furlife, encouraging furries to post photos of themselves in fursuits to Twitter and Instagram with the movie hashtag, even offering posters or movie swag to those that do.
Notopoulos noted that Disney’s animators have also favorited tweets from furry community Twitter users about the film—and that many furries believe Disney purposely made the film to appeal to furries.
I kind of believe the furries? The number one most bang-able animal in the furry community is a fox. Zootopia stars a buff, roguish fox named Nick Wilde.