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Fluff Pieces Every Week
Updated: 4 hours 52 min ago

1980’s furry fandom was on Star Trek: The Next Generation and spun off Netflix’s Usagi Yojimbo

Thu 28 Apr 2022 - 10:15

There have been many fan-made furry/Star Trek crossovers. Some early editions of Dana Simpson’s Ozy and Millie comic were republished in Klingon language. Ever hear about Furries Vs. Klingons, a bowling tournament between Atlanta fursuiters and a Klingon cosplay group?

Astonishingly, there was OFFICIAL show crossover that’s not yet included on Wikifur’s Star Trek list, and it came before most of them. It was a complete surprise to me, so here’s a headline story for you, even if it’s a few dilithium crystals short of warp speed.

Sprinkles being a Star Trek pupcake for #FursuitFriday 🙂 Maybe Data likes cupcakes too? pic.twitter.com/7NlwAdEfiX

— Derp Dawwg 🐶 (@WoleverWuff) October 23, 2015

Star Trek: The Next Generation made sneaky references to early furry fandom! A tip came in from Alex:

“Hello! As I was looking at various Star Trek trivia, some of the names suddenly seemed very familiar. Apparently in one episode of Season One of ST:TNG, all the way back in 1988, someone working on the show decided to sneak in references to the Albedo Anthropomorphics furry comics! Here are some links to the furry references on the show:

      • Erma Felna (name of a Starfleet Tactical Command admiral)
      • Steve Gallaci (name of a Starfleet officer of the USS Robert Louis Stevenson.)
      • Captain Itzak Arrat (name of a Starfleet officer of the USS Ticonderoga)
      • Commodore Toki (name of a Starfleet officer of the Advanced Technologies Division)

It might be a stretch, but perhaps the USS Omaha Nebraska that “Admiral Erma Felna” ordered miiight be a reference to Omaha the Cat Dancer?

I thought that maybe you could try to do some investigation and perhaps figure out who this possible early furry working on Star Trek might be, and maybe shed some light on these interesting references.”

I see these character names appeared in the ST:TNG episode “Conspiracy”, which aired May 9, 1988 and later won an Emmy award. The episode link’s script and story notes credit writer Tracy Tormé — (son of Mel Tormé and later creator of TV show Sliders) — adapting a story by Robert Sabaroff, with input from Robert JustmanRick Berman, Rob Lewin, and Maurice Hurley. Their storied careers don’t tell me obvious furry clues.

The names were in background screens on a computer that showed text memos, and weren’t played by actors — those are obscure easter eggs!

Search result for “Star Trek furries.”

Military theme a natural crossover.

The names are referencing characters in the Albedo Anthropomorphics comics universe, except for Steve Gallacci, the comic founder and a technical illustrator for the U.S. Air Force. He calls himself a “milfur” (military-theme furry fan.)

Gallacci’s comic is “often credited with starting the furry comic book subgenre that featured sophisticated stories with funny animals primarily intended for an adult audience. It was first published in 1983.” – Wikipedia

Does anyone have more info about how furry references appeared in Star Trek? I wrote to Steve and hope to hear back.

Gallacci and early furry comic characters are alive and kicking in 2022!

Steve Gallacci is active in the fandom; a month ago, he posted to Furaffinity to ask for fan feedback about “diving deep into the sketchbooks and such for ‘unpublished’ work.” He only recently got Paypal and will do commissions, and has a Patreon too.

I found Albedo Anthropomorphics #1 original printings for sale between $1-2000 depending on condition; one Ebay seller has a less-than-mint copy for $2200. Some other early issues are going for hundreds. There’s high value for the first Albedo appearances of Usagi Yojimbo, artist Stan Sakai’s samurai rabbit who went on to his own fame and pop crossover:

“a highly successful comic book series drawing influence from the movies of Akira Kurosawa as well as the exploits of the legendary swordsman Miyamoto Musashi. It is perhaps best known in the West for its close connection to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series.” (- Polygon)

Usagi Yojimbo will get major mainstream notice TODAY, April 28, 2022 with the new release of Netflix’s animated series Samurai Rabbit: The Usagi Chronicles.

Comic market watchers are wondering if prices for the original furry comics might see a crazy jump to “remarkable records”.

Will Usagi Yojimbo's 1st Appearance in Albedo #2 Take the TMNT Leap? https://t.co/hfASDRfmCY via @bleedingcool

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) April 28, 2022

UPDATE for Star Trek furry references:

On the Facebook Graymuzzles group (for furry fans from the early days), Earl Bacon claimed that the cover photo of one issue of Albedo Anthropomorphics was taken on the set of ST:TNG, and it showed a copy of Albedo on Captain Picard’s desk in his ready room.

Earl’s source: “Steve Gallacci himself said that the photo was taken there after filming was done for the day on one of the first episodes of Season 1 of TNG.”

I looked up the issue he named, and Albedo #14 was published in Spring 1989, around the same time. So that means the show references a furry comic… and the comic returns the reference. What’s the deeper story to how this happened?

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on Patreon.Want to get involved? Try these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for news or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

Zoosadist arrest in Australia shows successful internet investigation.

Thu 28 Apr 2022 - 10:00

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…

Putting a spotlight on this trend can show that abusers can be tracked, and complicit people can be held responsible. Their accomplices include a fandom underworld where zoophiles harbored zoosadists for decades, which only came out when a crime ring leaked in 2018. They meet in shady crossover groups with hundreds of zoophile furries, and use fandom for cover or even staff furry cons to walk among us while investigation gets backlash. Even if opposed by many furries, they have high-level apologists who promote “zoosexuality” and call opposition “cancel culture”. It’s like a Catholic Church abuse crisis, except with decentralized compartmentalizing behind denials about it. “Not our job” denials make a Catch-22 for seeking outside help, when police rarely pay attention. Even criminals who hide behind popularity like the now-disgraced Kero the Wolf get away with it.

For the Australian crime, it’s unclear how directly it ties to known rings, although it used similar methods. However, it can make a deeper look at internet investigators who gather some of the only visible info about secret zoosadist networks.

Tracking the suspect — Beyond the mainstream news.

The search process included screenshots of evidence that showed a victim dog to identify the breed. This comes from an investigator in Estonia (with minor corrections for clarity):

“How I managed to track his nasty ass is I did lots of research on the internet, posted this everywhere on the internet, until I saw one guy who seemed to know something about it. I contacted him and asked what does he know about this video or the person behind it.”

Following the trail led to a network with familiar methods:

“He said, oh I’m in a Telegram group chat with him and he posts lots of zoosadistic material there and talks to other zoosadists. I thought this is some BS, but he proved it and sent me screenshots of it.”

Abuse media traders can use what law enforcement calls a “baseball card trading system“:

“I even tried to get into the group myself but I couldn’t. It was like a share-to-join group, so I had to share zoosadistic material in order to join. But of course I don’t have any of this stuff, so I just let this other drug addict who was in the group and who I had access to talk with.”

If there was no media — there’d be no networks — but zoophiles excuse the consumer demand they make while their sources hide their ID’s:

“I asked questions from the man himself, like why is he doing this, etc. He said he hates dogs a lot and loves rape. Very f*cked up individual, I guess he didn’t even reveal much information to other zoosadists.”

The hiding takes high effort to overcome:

“So that led me nowhere until I started really look around for every detail in [evidence video] and noticed the orange collar with color changing pattern/chip. It had “Great Pets Start with you” logo on it. I did more research and found that these collars have a chip and they’re given out by council in Northern Territory, Australia. So I sent pictures of the dog to numerous shelters in Northern Territory but no one could identify the dog. I sent the pics to city council, and asked is it possible these kinds of collars are given out elsewhere? They said “No,” only we give out such chipped collars to dogs.”

Persistence had results:

“The city council asked me why do I need to know it. I told them all the information about the man, what he does to dogs, etc. The council told me they’re gonna pass it to criminal investigators, and few days later the police contact me to ask information. Like, describe what he does in the videos. They wanted me to describe everything he does to these poor dogs, like does he record his acts and post them somewhere, etc. So I did and the police said we have one 51 year old suspect who fits your description… we’re gonna raid him soon etc… a few days later the police contact me again saying they have caught the man, and all the material I sent them, they found on his devices. The police thanked me and told me I can now rest easy and breathe freely.”

The investigator emphasized that the suspect ID can’t be public yet, but told me:

“He gets extreme sexual pleasure out of animal cruelty, the videos were posted to his telegram chat. It’s quite odd why did he risk sharing these videos, as he’s not some junkie, but quite successful and highly educated and famous in his hometown.”

I verified this claim in private, and this case is very noteworthy and sure to get more news. Action is pending in court.

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Try these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for news or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

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

Mon 25 Apr 2022 - 10:00

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.

*clicks through link sent to me for someone's new furry business idea*

…Oh.

Oh god no.

No no no no no.

— Col. Boozy Badger (@BoozyBadger) April 20, 2022

❗IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT❗

We have been notified of another organization claiming to provide vender spaces near our event.

BLFC is NOT affiliated or in ANY way connected with any other organizations offering vendor spaces.

— Biggest Little Fur Con (@BiggestLittleFC) April 20, 2022

NOTICE: We are in no way affiliated with any 3rd party ticket providers or "partner events.” All charity operations, registration, and vendor activities are managed in house. We urge you to think critically about 3rd parties claiming to be collecting donations or registrations

— AnthrOhio 2022: Tech Noir (@anthrohio) April 20, 2022

There's the boom. https://t.co/Jwp1b0Sv5I

— Col. Boozy Badger (@BoozyBadger) April 20, 2022

Okay, here’s the deal as far as I can tell: https://t.co/11CQBAu78G is an organization setting up events parallel to and unconnected to major furry cons. They work with Neil Wacaster, formerly of Artworktee, who’s been embroiled in controversy. I would not give them money. pic.twitter.com/0MhCw81CQW

— Buddy Goodboy (@BuddyGoodboyEsq) April 20, 2022

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…

Check out how Wacaster introduces himself on his Linkedin page:

It says expertise in guerrilla marketing… that’s a far too nice term for how shady this gets!

The million dollar sales claim also touts charity fundraising, which sounds nice. Charity isn’t always altruistic, of course; think of a robber baron building a library in his name to look good with money from plundering and exploiting people. Buying goodwill can be as effective as advertising for sales, or doing PR for damage control… but what about doing fair business in the first place?

Wacaster’s 2012 college thesis was about venture capitalism and entrepreneurship. It has a line that sums up the Machiavellian behavior in this story:

To get ahead any way he can, Wacaster now uses business brand accounts and personal account Hot Fudge Husky on Twitter, Youtube, Furaffinity, F-List, etc. It’s hard to even count how many other scam accounts he uses, as you’ll see. (Update: He changed the personal account to Neil Fox after this story came out.)

The blueprint: Methods of the original Traceponies scandal

Last decade, Wacaster’s Drawponies brand was everywhere at My Little Pony fan cons. His dealer operation reaped profits from large-scale competition against small artists. Then Wacaster was caught tracing frames of the official MLP show to crank out and sell falsely advertised “original” art.

As angry fans saw it, Wacaster had cheated to compete and took dealer space that crowded out better talents, rode on top of labor that built the events, and took advantage of volunteer mods for his own groups. Fans do this work for love… but Wacaster’s Linkedin calls their cons “Trade shows.” (Hasbro might have something to say about trade from THEIR property.)

Brony news site Horse News reported about Wacaster’s fall from grace and con bans after the scandal. It’s crazy how the news is needed again 7 years later… will he ever learn?

The pivot: Artworktee (no longer owned by Wacaster)

With Drawponies done, founding a new merchandise business could have been a clean slate for clean methods. Serving the fandom from within is desirable to many artists. Artworktee had that demand, and, because a new person owns it in 2022, it’s worth being careful not to hurt the brand and its users.

Wacaster is no longer there, but his former management can still get put on record. It used shady methods like systematically spamming “popufurs” with generic marketing (targeting them by follower count, like cogs in the influencer industry), and underpaying artists. Some criticism was temporarily soothed by team PR. Some was reported here with focus on cut-throat “growth hacking” like mainstream startups do (is fandom just for grabbing customers?)

Wacaster’s marketing reached people who must have had little idea about what was under the hood. “Popufurs” joined to have their merch represented. Many put their faces on a “<Fursona> Fan Club” line of shirts. But then it gained criticism for allowing merch of the racist, pro-fascist 2 Gryphon. Artworktee added a “we don’t support him” label (while it stayed for sale on the site) — until the label was pointed out as quietly removed (while it stayed for sale on the site) — and then 2 Gryphon was dropped. Read between the lines to see only caring if it looked good.

Apart from that stumble, an animal charity crowdfund was launched and supported by popular furries, reaping goodwill for Artworktee with $66,156 in donations in June 2019. But greed doesn’t stay satisfied…

Kickstarter trouble and the LGBT “Furry and Proud” campaign

The charity success coincided with a separate huge crowdfund that Wacaster undoubtedly envied. Fursona Pins had a record six-figure Kickstarter fund for LGBT Pride-themed pins, shooting up to $249,610 on July 1, 2019. 3 months later, Artworktee imitated this with a Pride-themed shirt line on Kickstarter, resembling something for charity. It was actually for profit, and used careless methods that Fursona Pins took care not to do.

Some supporters complained about being misled, with receipts on the Know Your Meme page for the Furry and Proud line.

@PartyPrat

I didn’t follow the Furry and Proud campaign after it ended at $35,511 in support, but a year later, comments piled up about failure to deliver shirts and shirts being sold on the store before being delivered to backers. In the next year, Artworktee went bankrupt, and Wacaster is out. The new owners mentioned a “Kickstarter Debacle.” Perhaps bankruptcy could be counted against Wacaster, but it also was the year of Covid-19, and Artworktee serves a real demand (wouldn’t it be nice to build small fandom business to do service, not grab power?) It has a clean slate to reorganize now.

Furrymemes: Systematic art theft for clout 

Wacaster’s methods for boosting sales and crowdfunds were more shady than most people knew. Here’s a great scam you can repeat forever:

  • Scrape industrial quantities of “memes” from the most popular furry Reddit posts. (Read: stealing art from the original makers.)
  • Use a bot to repost memes to Twitter as insincere fan love, but only offer to take down stolen art if noticed. (Read: clout arbitrage.)
  • Pump Furrymemes account over 10k followers, because people follow and share without thinking.
  • Switch the account to a store or other front, then take the old name with a new small account. Pump it up again.
  • Repeat forever using the same name, profile pic, and scraped content. Sharers won’t notice the switching.
  • Shill merchandise with the deceptively pumped up accounts, sometimes selling extremely problematic products…

This scam was also behind switching Furrymemes to a furry news site (Awoonews) with attached Patreon. It sputtered and died from exploiting volunteers to write for free, reposting more stolen art, taking Patron money for it, and shilling merchandise until that backfired. Awoo News is now a suspended account.

More screens here.

Accounts like these, despite linking to the artist, basically divert traffic away from them in a "this account posts art almost daily with credit so there's no need to follow the actual artists" kinda way.

An example being in them having 13k+ followers and you only having 5k.

— Jennah Saburashii (@JENNAAAAAAAAHHH) February 10, 2020

Bot-powered industrial clout-chasing and aggressive “growth hacking” is the opposite of what personal fandom is for. (Furries are born when they think: “I can have my own unique fursona with my own art…”)

This led to incidents like posting scraped “memes” that were hateful chan posts — which tells you the quality of clout-chasing content — and a mini-scandal when a Furrymemes account switched to a sex toy store.

Furrysexshop tries to cash in clout, gets backlash up the butt

Stolen art could transform to profit, Wacaster hoped, if a switched account could shill drop-shipped buttplug tails. Drop-shipping is a business method where an outside business fulfills products by mail. The seller never touches them, so quality control is nonexistent. The seller collects money and maybe the buyer has no idea, except it’s hard to get refunds.

For Wacaster’s Furrysexshop, cheap chinese sources were meant to provide “faux fur” tailplugs, but the products held a surprise…

Answers about what the next one would be rebranded to — a drop ship operation https://t.co/3cxwpsub32

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) December 29, 2019

to someone for having made 3 clics and have no guarantee about the product
I call this a scam
Plus their communication is made through a transfomed twitter account + @furry__memes

— Silou SnowCat (@Silou_Atien) December 18, 2019

The “faux fur” sold through markets like Alibaba was believed to be real animal parts from shady chinese fur-farms. Animal welfare laws? Who needs those when your art theft/clout scam can make a buck? The backlash made Wacaster delete the store.

Advanced clout chasing: Awoo News and Global Furry TV

Think of how shady it would be to run scams on the fandom, AND run one of the few news sites that could report on them… what a conflict of interest and treacherous control of the narrative!

(For example, see the Washington Post owned by billionaire Amazon owner Jeff Bezos… Dogpatch Press is proudly independent of any other fandom business.)

Filling Awoo News with fan-made news lacked a crucial ingredient: having volunteers naive enough to work for free for Wacaster implies lack of insight for news. It’s like hiring the blind to draw your art. It led to getting a teenage editor with his own hobby channel called Global Furry TV, who announced their partnership (with no transparency about editing Awoo News too, Wacaster’s for-profit business or how it was pumped by clout scams.) The former Awoo News editor/partner carries on the quality with both-sidesing to defend shady figures, partnering with other shady figures, and even spreading defenses for groups like the Furry Raiders while accusing the fandom of “politics” or division in “controversies”. (There’s no controversy in rejecting malice and scams, of course.)

⚠ PLEASE STOP FOLLOWING THESE ACCOUNTS ⚠

@.Artworktee & @.Awoonews are made by a notorious scam artist, w/ this being their newest endeavor

If you see content from any other "furry meme" sites in their RTs, assume they're all part of the same scandal.

STOP supporting them!! https://t.co/Z0oTHGBDtd

🌺Zahzu-Lemur & a Zebra🦓 || 💙💛 (@Zahzu) December 30, 2019

Hazbin Hotel Fanworks: Youtube channel that uses fan art to pump crypto investing, but the channel was ironically stolen.

Wacaster’s move after bankruptcy with shirts was to build a 185K follower video channel: “Comic Dubs for the Hazbin Hotel and Helluva Boss Universes.” The fandubs takes fan-made comics from an indie property (so, probably lacking lawyers to defend the property) and applies new voices. There’s a sneaky way to upload/recycle a bunch of content you didn’t create, say you’re adding something original (or call it fair use), and ride the coat tails up to 185K followers. Maybe a lot of them are kids.

Did you think this is about enjoying fandom with them? Ha ha!! Wacaster’s co-admins had their marks lined up. With 43 million views for comics, it doesn’t matter what they’re for; that can drive a lot of traffic for crypto investing scams the channel also pumps.

Wacaster’s access to 185K followers was cut off when his crypto scam partner (Crowley) stole it from him and locked him out on Youtube, leaving him a small 3K Twitter for the channel. It led to dueling accusations about theft and legal battle. The Youtube now just posts game streams with cratered views.

If Wacaster knew Crowley was a criminal during their partnership, is it only told now to get back at him? How many kids followed the channel…

More about Furry Swap Meet and Hot Fudge Husky / Neil Fox

Here we are back at the latest scam. It changed after bad notice; it might have some kind of too-late spin about being nonprofit.

Wacaster did have a nonprofit set up, Fandom Fund. That nonprofit was supposedly based in Arkansas. No nonprofits by that name are registered in Arkansas. Fandom Fund Inc is dissolved in Indiana as of March 2022. I don’t know if there is reorganizing going on, but cons weren’t even asked first, and the launch debacle was spammed at people who should now read this story and think hard before supporting any such thing.

UPDATE: The Furry Swap Meet site is taken down. Wacaster’s Twitter for Hot Fudge Husky deleted all activity for the scam, and replaced it with a message that Crowley hacked it (despite coordinated marketing from Wacaster’s other accounts.) REPEAT: MULTIPLE ACCOUNTS.

Here's the "partner event" email and the commission cold call email from a few days ago.

Different emails, both signed by Hot Fudge Husky. pic.twitter.com/s5niwAWwaW

— Ash! (@ashenwhiskers) April 20, 2022

When you know how the Furrymemes scam works, isn’t it funny how the Hot Fudge Husky twitter has 11.5K followers but almost no content? — UPDATE: Hot Fudge Husky is rebranded to Neil Fox. Neil Fox is the result when you search the original account name @furry__memes

CONCLUSION

Some previous coverage here about Wacaster erred on the side of being lenient and forgiving. It’s great that cons coordinated official responses this time, making it not just my opinion that this guy needs to stop.

He obviously has impressive skills, along with astonishing lack of limits or respect. Why not build a small business to deliver joy and satisfaction to people instead of trampling them in a rush to dominate a market?

Maybe he’ll read this and dismiss it as an unfair hit piece (or just call it “drama”.) Well… a good time for getting his side and letting him explain could have been after the first disaster. After 10 times, why should we get both sides about an UNCHECKED RAMPAGE OF GREED?

It’s not the job of unpaid volunteers and fans to be the conscience, when someone keeps doing aggressive schemes until they fail and make an ass out of everyone who trusted them.

Meanwhile, Wacaster claims a million dollars in sales and had an ENTIRE PR TEAM response for disasters before. That’s unfair to everyone else in the same market, like little artists competing for notice. It isn’t equal, and I don’t have time to waste on wishy-washy both-sidesing like a nice, polite fence-sitter. Polite and kind aren’t the same thing, and it would be UNKIND to the public to hold back news of all this nonsense and deception.

Anyone who calls this drama or unfair is on the hook to give real answers for why this keeps happening, and when will it stop?

UPDATES: Wacaster’s response connects more background of the Hazbin Hotel Fanworks scams.

Buddy Goodboy’s thread is added (it was overlooked during parallel research), give him a follow. And we have new insight on Neil Wacaster’s response after the scam emerged — Wacaster is backpedaling with claims about “lies” and being “hacked”:

(Personally, I think this is just a backpedaling attempt, but I suppose we shall see)

— Trick | Badge comms open! (@TrickTheHyena) April 22, 2022

To unravel these claims, more info is in a video posted by the Hazbin Hotel Fanworks replacement Youtube channel. If you recall the background above, Hazbin Hotel Fanworks was a partnership between Neil Wacaster and a crypto scammer named Crowley, who took their first channel of 185K followers. The replacement has 6K, and its spin about this requires reading between the lines. UPDATE: The replacement channel, still under Wacaster’s control, took down the team’s explanation. The below summary of the contents was posted when the video was still live and comparable. If anyone claims it isn’t true, ask why the evidence was deleted.

The hour long video reveals about Crowley and Wacaster’s partnership:

  • Wacaster was living with Crowley, a sex offender on parole.
  • The restrictions of living on parole show WACASTER KNEW HIS PARTNER WAS A CONVICT.
  • (5:20) In November 2020, Wacaster started Hazbin Hotel Fanworks out of a “meme furry channel.”
  • They were 50/50 partners in the Hazbin “company” (how is this connected to the real property owners? What???)
  • They did panels at furry cons together, and hosted house parties that brought some staffers.

How staff were mismanaged:

  • Crowley, the sex offender, was head of staff.
  • Wacaster promised to pay staff if they started out with free volunteer work.
  • Pay promises depended on investing that never came (for a fan channel using other peoples art? What???)
  • (9:00) The team treats it as overpromising, rather than a history of scamming by Wacaster.
  • As a Plan B, Wacaster hired cheap overseas editors for “cost saving”, who badly communicated with the team.

Things get bad:

  • Crowley started his Cryptogod crypto-investing channel that was pushed on their channel.
  • Meanwhile, free volunteers were overworked for roles they were never trained for.
  • Crowley failed to pay them for weeks and weeks, excusing it because crypto prices fell.
  • Volunteers spent all their savings to live while working full-time.
  • Wacaster blamed Crowley for failing to pay, like he had no idea at all. (Sure…)

It turns into a crisis:

  • Wacaster and Crowley split up, and 40 volunteers had to reorganize into 2 teams.
  • (16:25) The 40 volunteers had been pitted against each other to work with “tribal”, “cut-throat competition”.
  • Volunteers had been forced to stay up extra late by exhausting motivation meetings to hype up the team.
  • Most of the volunteers left with Crowley, while Wacaster made new plans with his Furrymemes channels.
  • (20:30) Crowley’s team locked out Wacaster’s, breaking their agreement to share channels.

Fallout from the crisis:

  • They discovered employee wage funds had been dishonestly invested in crypto instead.
  • This halted video production for Crowley’s channel, and it’s unclear what happened to the team.
  • There is talk of legal proceedings and “it’s like a Looney Tune skit.”
  • Wacaster is still leading these volunteers while Crowley is blamed.
  • (45:45) Crowley is claimed to be Noah E. Akins; his parole meant he wasn’t supposed to talk to minors on social media. Yet Wacaster had him managing!

This shows the volunteers as victims too, but sorry friends… the bottom line is: don’t ever do free work for a “fan” project using someone else’s property, and if the people behind it are both scammers or criminals, do your due diligence first. Hopefully this story can help other people for the future.

EVEN MORE UPDATES, 5/9/22: New scams and insight from Indiana

Claims emerged about Wacaster offering art commissioning as a middleman scheme — Charging full price, while advertising art created at a discounted price by an outsourced artist in a cheaper place — then pocketing the difference without crediting someone else’s art.

I hope this makes sense. This person set up a fancy site I filled out for a commission, then did not pay their artist and ran. I will find a way to pay their artist but please don’t work with this person. pic.twitter.com/bd3xAsnduq

— Splat @FWA+MEGAPLEX (@SplatFennec) April 26, 2022

Not only HotFudgeHusky has been taking art that it's fully mine without my permission, but he is making money getting fake commissions using my work as an example

— Kaya (@KayaUnderTheSun) April 26, 2022

Wacaster’s Neil Fox account is now taking the title “journalist” to retaliate at a group called Italian Furposting for flagging his content. He is threatening them with a misinformation campaign that would use targeted ads to pose him as a victim of anti-journalist censorship. Is anti-spam action now censorship?

Remember the use of threats, it comes up again…

Indiana fans reached out with feedback on this story.

“Extra context: Neil has a disability so he’s unable to work ‘typical’ jobs. He does have legitimate skill as a businessperson. He is good at managing books and finances, and knows a lot about SEO and marketing, and when he’s not fixated on a money making scheme, he’s nice to be around. He hosts local fur meets at his house (“The Fox Den”). People seem to have positive experiences at his meets, and he genuinely seemed to make the meets safe — strict alcohol rules, a clearly denoted time for when NSFW content would be allowed, etc.

The @hotfudgehusky account, @awoo_news, and @furry__memes — these are the same account carried over. At one point, the account did make half-hearted attempts to credit the original post and direct users there for an artist source, but would fail more than half the time. Neil shrugged it off. He also ran a Tiktok account that clipped and edited furry dance videos for reposting. He wouldn’t ask permission before using someone’s content, but believed that was ok because “message me to remove it.” He is rebranding that account. The new tiktok name is @thefurryfandom.co and the new profile pic is his face… not sure what the angle is, but the account has 107k followers and 2.3M likes to leverage the algorithm for whatever it is.

Regarding the “Furry and Proud” crowdfund — He had walls filled in his garage with boxes of t-shirts from this. He couldn’t sell them because the shirts were the property of someone else and involved in an active legal battle (Artworktee), but Artworktee didn’t collect the property from him (?) The full run of shirts were actually produced, just… never shipped for some reason, and Artworktee may not be collecting them or lacks the funds.

Regarding Hazbin Hotel Fanworks — This was the biggest source of ongoing drama in his house and social circles. Crowley’s parole required him to inform people he is living with that he is a convict… unfortunately, Crowley violated his parole by not doing that. No one in the home, Neil included, was aware of his sex offender status until after he had already been living in the house for several months. Prior to this, he was known to have been in prison but refused to talk about why.

Was this Neil’s story? Scammers can play very sympathetic and persuasive, and always play the victim while blaming someone else. Claiming lack of knowledge about Crowley is hard to believe because:
(1) Probation can mean ankle bracelets and the PO knocking at any time to come in.
(2) They can check for devices with someone not allowed around certain devices.
(3) Crowley’s crime was openly published in the news, and that’s hard to hide.
(4) The news reported he “cannot drink any alcohol while on probation, or he will finish the sentence in prison.”
(5) Did Neil act like Crowley moved in without a real name or basic googling to screen a roommate?

It’s all hard to buy, but the source continued…

Around the same time as when news broke about Crowley’s sex offender status, is when the business partnership broke. Neil evicted Crowley from the house over his sex offender status, and his deciding to dump channel funds into an “investment” (crypto scam that he lost out on), and failure to pay bills in the house — according to Neil. He received several not-so-veiled death threats from Crowley, and so Neil kept quiet about everything until Crowley was completely out.

Once Crowley was gone, Neil was happy to leave well enough alone, but it seems Crowley had maintained access and hijacked the channel. The Youtube channel was Neil’s only source of income, so he got a lawyer to get the channel back. Crowley was served legal paperwork, with the deal being that Neil would keep quiet about Crowley’s sex offender status and not notify his parole officer of his violations, as long as the channel was returned to Neil. Crowley decided to take everything to court, and that’s when posts about Crowley’s status as a sex offender started going public. Maybe Neil hoped that social backlash would solve the situation, but it did not, and that legal battle is still ongoing.

This story about threats and staying afraid and quiet because of them is convenient… then Neil using a threat to spread info about Crowley is very shady when you look at other threats to run a targeted ad campaign against Italian Furposting for flagging his content. So he’s afraid, but making threats himself?

The source claimed Neil may start:

  • Trying to attach ads to captcha systems (because you can make the internet worse by requiring people to look at an ad to prove they’re human).
  • Buying land outside of the city to grow and sell CBD products, and selling camp sites on the land. Neil also wanted to go further and have “Furry” recognized as a religion in the state so he could get a religious exemption to produce THC products also, and sell “religious experiences” to people. Basically, a roundabout way to sell THC in a state where it’s not legal, and leverage the furry fandom to legitimize it.
  • Crypto scams. One of Neil’s other partners is shilling dogecoin endlessly to Neil and his social circle.

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Try these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for news or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

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

Fri 22 Apr 2022 - 10:00

Artworktee.com

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.

Previous partnering practices had involved blitzing generic appeals to anyone with over 3K followers on social media, but that’s ended now. Paying artists was an issue, and the new ownership is committed to paying fairly.

I questioned Raphael more about company ownership in case Wacaster still had input on the board, profit sharing, or other ties. It satisfied me that there weren’t any, just cooperation for handing things over. That takes time (such as when old services are under old names), and not everyone is aware, but it sounds like the company is firmly in the care of Raphael and his small team.

Programs and relationships had to be dropped and restarted. The website is getting renovation. New organization has finances back in order with new investors. It was accomplished with some cuts to staff, and Artworktee was re-incorporated in California in 2021. The team includes:

  • 1 warehouse helper
  • 1 full time operations staffer
  • 1 social media manager
  • 1 supply relationships broker (Asia and Pacific)
  • 1 co-manager who also does supply relationships for Europe
  • A web developer and 5-6 regular con booth helpers.

“We have some great new plans coming up”, Raphael told me. One of them will be a new feature for uploading art to create your own products. Many people do it with services like Redbubble, but Raphael intends this to come with more personal service, representation at cons and quality at similar price point.

There will more con vending, and potentially helping to run an official con store. Other plans include expanding merch lines, a better located warehouse, and an optional website version for NSFW goods. There could even be partnership with retailers like Hot Topic if the stars align. (Some of these are in early stages, so allow for development.)

“We’re trying to be good to our artists and the fandom”, says Raphael. Service by fans, for fans is definitely what a lot of people want.

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Try these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for news or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

Vote now for the Good Furry Award — voting is open through April

Fri 22 Apr 2022 - 09:45

2022 GOOD FURRY AWARD –  Vote HERE until May 1

This annual award is run by Grubbs Grizzly to recognize furries who make outstanding positive contributions to the fandom. The first one in 2019 went to Tony “Dogbomb” Barrett. In 2020 the award (and a $500 check) went to Ash Coyote. In 2021, Cassidy Civet won. Each winner gets a check and a trophy.

Winners for this 4th annual award will be announced at Biggest Little Furcon in June.

This year there will be a new Lifetime Achievement Award, selected by Uncle Bear Publishing in addition to regular awards.

The awards will be presented live at BLFC, and Pepper Coyote also wrote a theme song for the award.

Grubbs explains why he started the award on the nomination page:

The Good Furry Award is about community spirit. This is not an award for who is the best fursuiter or artist or writer. It is not about being the most popular or being the furry who is seen on news broadcasts. It is about furries who do good works to promote and sustain the fandom and who represent the best in furry. Examples might be a person who does extraordinary work as a furcon volunteer, or who runs a charity, or who has done a lot to help furries in need, or who does something to promote a positive image of furries to the mundane world. I’m sure you understand the phrase “community spirit,” so nominate people based on that concept. The same goes for groups of people, organizations, and even businesses that help out furries.

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Try these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for news or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

The 2021 Ursa Major Awards are open now and need your vote.

Tue 15 Mar 2022 - 10:00

Furry fandom’s Ursa Major awards honor the best, most loved anthropomorphic creations of the past year (2021.) Vote now to help the community choose their favorite movies, art, books, news magazines, and more. You can vote until March 31.

Voting for the 2021 Ursa Major Awards is now open! Go to https://t.co/W6cIErOJfu to log in with your key from the 2021 nominations or request a key if you don't have one yet. pic.twitter.com/GFW690yxKv

— Ursa Major Awards🐻💫 (@UrsaMajorAwards) March 1, 2022

The nominations in 14 categories have links to the content here, and you can also find it linked on their Twitter feed.

If you like seeing this collected and open for community feedback, share it on your personal feeds and tell your friends to vote!

This year’s nominees are…

Best Motion Picture
Live-action or animated feature-length movies.

Best Dramatic Short Work
One-shots, advertisements or short videos.

Best Dramatic Series
TV or YouTube series videos.

Best Novel
Written works of 40,000 words or more. Serialized novels qualify only for the year that the final chapter is published.

Best Short Fiction
Stories less than 40,000 words, poetry, and other short written works.

Best Other Literary Work
Story collections, comic collections, graphic novels, non-fiction works, and serialized online stories.

Best Non-Fiction Work
Includes documentaries, opinion pieces, and news articles.

Best Graphic Story
Includes comic books, and serialized online stories.

Best Comic Strip
Newspaper-style strips, including those with ongoing arcs.

Best Magazine
Edited collections of creative and/or informational works by various people, professional or amateur, published in print or online in written, pictorial or audio-visual form.

  • #ohmurr!, edited by Izzy Torres, aka Weasel. (Internet) Mature Audiences.
  • Dogpatch Press, edited by Patch Packrat. (Internet)
  • Flayrah, edited by GreenReaper, Sonious, and Dronon. (Internet)
  • InFurNation,, edited by Rod O’Riley. (Internet)
  • Zooscape, edited by Mary E. Lowd. (Internet)

Best Published Illustration
Illustrations for books, magazines, convention program books, cover art for such, coffee-table portfolios.

Best Game
Computer or console games, role-playing games, board games.

Best Website
Online collections of art, stories, and other creative and/or informational works. Includes galleries, story archives, directories, blogs, and personal sites.

Anthropomorphic Costume (Fursuit)

Volunteers run the Ursa Major Awards. Please support them so they can make this possible.

Since 2001, these awards have been run with long hours of unpaid work. The volunteers would appreciate any support you can give to defray costs for a website, making and mailing awards, and more.

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Try these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for news or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

The fascist fringe of furry fans: the Eastern Orthodox connection.

Wed 9 Mar 2022 - 10:11

NEW AND IMPROVED guest post with update at bottom!

Here’s a community access guest post with anonymity to protect sources. New readers will benefit from background in the Altfurry tag, which documents a loose fringe of pests who include terrorists like Portland mass shooter Benjamin Smith. The guest author says: “they’re a nasty bunch… this is a great way to get all this info out. There’s so much information most furries don’t know or have context for. I appreciate that you’re willing to go up against these people.” It’s hosted with opinions belonging to the guest. – Editor 

(PART 1 / 2) – Notable names and their ties and tells.

This report is meant to shed light on a particular strain of furry fascist that is far more ideological and militant than Altfurry ever was, with most people involved orbiting Reagan Lodge, a die-hard fascist and furry artist who has been in the fandom for 2 decades but was not exposed until 2020. The common pattern between all of them is an obsession for drawing furries and military imagery, often themed around historical conflicts and authoritarian regimes. (Their obscure ideologies/dogwhistles get a look in the second half.)

Reagan Lodge AKA Sulacoyote

The Kevin Bacon of the twitter far-right. Reagan Lodge, aka Sulacoyote, has been in the furry fandom for years, drawing art of furries in Nazi uniforms or the armor from Jin-Roh (an anime beloved by online Nazis). He somehow got quite the following despite drawing like this; (red labeled by editor.)

These were titled “Aryan Vixen” and “Jewlacoyote“. (Are we really surprised a guy who drew this was a Nazi?)

However, for most of his time in furry and the indie comics scenes, Lodge kept up a veneer of at the most being just a rightwinger, until he was exposed as having been a die-hard race-war Nazi the whole time. He had been a user on Ironmarch (the founding site of Atomwaffen, National Action, and other violent Nazi terrorist groups), who idolized mass murderer Anders Brevik no less. The full information is detailed in his entry on the Iron March Dossiers blog here – it should be worth noting that Lodge was introduced to Ironmarch by another Nazi furry, Kacen, who is covered later;

In response to this, Lodge publicly apologized and claimed to be a reformed man, thanking his conversion to Eastern Orthodox Christianity for “saving” him…

… But really he had just adopted a new uniform, moving to a slightly different group of far-right reactionaries, most of which is organized around the far right/reactionary podcast The Perfume Nationalist. Lodge was a guest on the show – to talk about Don Bluth’s The Secret of NIMH, no less. Jack Mason, the host of Perfume Nationalist, was also a guest on another reactionary podcast along with disgraced musician Ariel Pink (who’d been present at the January 6th insurrection). There’s connections here between Lodge and Perfume Nationalist with Red Scare and a league of other reactionary/”post left” types, as well as the assorted other twitter-dwelling far-rightists such as LogoDaedulus, Pyeerk, Lofirepublican and Zero HP Lovecraft. Reagan Lodge is also a friend of far right artist Doug Tennapel (creator of Earthworm Jim) who has been vocal about his hatred of the LGBT community among other things.

I should note also that Orthodox Christianity has a long history of being associated with anti-semitism and reactionary politics, which is touched on below in the section about Orthodox Converts. The book The Romanian Orthodox Church and the Holocaust by Ion Popa is an important read on the matter if anyone is interested. A lot of Eastern Orthodox followers will claim that they don’t stand for fascism and that “the nazis targeted us” but this is a blatant lie – rather it seems more that in Romania the sympathies were more with local reactionary movements, such as the vicious Iron Guard which is covered in detail below – but also this article notices the increasing surge of far-rightists becoming Orthodox Christians:

Orthodox Iron Guard fascists were so brutal that the Nazis balked at the way they operated – of course the nazis were doing the same or worse, but with a veneer of order and civility. During the pogrom of 1941 the Iron Guard slaughtered and tortured jews with wild abandon and hung their bodies from meat hooks.

Regarding the connection between Lodge, Eastern Orthodox, and Iron March – the members of Iron March openly idolized the fascist Iron Guard. Matthew Heimbach of the “Traditionalist Worker Party” was an Iron March member and official fascist leader involved there with notable terrorists while organizing Unite The Right, the 2017 torchlit fascist rally in Charlottesville. Heimbach is Eastern Orthodox. He was in the American church until he was excommunicated after beating a protester at a hate rally with an Orthodox wooden cross, but he found a new Romanian group. From here, you can see why “converting” to Eastern Orthodox was an appealing move for ex-Iron March members after they got busted.

Reagan Lodge’s “reform” now looks like nothing more than slight rebranding when you do a quick scroll through his subsequent twitter likes. It reveals an assortment of reactionary material – including anti-vaxx sentiments, support of the fascist Trucker Convoy in Ottowa, shilling for cryptocurrency and NFTs, anti-communist sentiment, and likes of other tweets by far right and reactionary accounts – Amanda Millius, Filthy Armenian, Perfume Nationalist, Jack Posobeic.

If you look at the types of people interacting with Lodge as well (who he actively replies to and follows) you will also find lots of reactionary sentiments.

Pyotr Wrangel was an anti-bolshevik imperialist Russian general. This publishing company, Mystery Grove, publishes out-of-print, far-right military works including another by an anti-communist pro-Franco soldier from Spain, and the company account was banned from Twitter.

Lodge’s Facebook is no exception – plenty of far-right sympathies being laid bare for all to see, such as him being proud of the infamous Jordan Peterson sharing his artwork.

The more you dig, the more you’ll find. Lodge doesn’t make his connections deeply obvious from his tweets alone, but if you pay attention to who he interacts with, what he likes, his interests etc, there’s a lot of dogwhistles the average person may overlook. He doesn’t say “the quiet part out loud” so to speak, something he has been doing for a decade – but is very friendly with those who are more brazen about saying it.

Fascism isn’t just swastikas and MAGA hats, a lot of nationalist and reactionary thought is operating under different symbols and flags; for one, Lodge would draw art on his FurAffinity and Tumblr of such obscure fascist and nationalist figures as:

  • Ernst Junger (A more ‘obscure’ German fascist, one of the many far-right conservatives who were part of the forces that snowballed into Nazism)
  • Yukio Mishima (the infamous reactionary Japanese writer, who has became increasingly more beloved in fascist circles online)
  • Baron Ungern von Sternberg (Russian anti-communist, antisemitic leader in the Russian Civil War, a religious warlord who was famed for his brutality)
  • Marcus Garvey (anti-socialist black nationalist who collaborated with the Ku Klux Klan no less – he is idolized by fascists for his ‘Africa for the Africans’ idea to take all African-Americans away to another country, more or less turning the USA fully white)
  • And even art of the ‘Remove Kebab’ soldier celebrating the Bosnian genocide.

Some of Lodge’s fanart, left to right: Ernst Junger, Yukio Mishima, Baron Ungern von Sternberg / (Our red label)

Jean-Luc Sabourin AKA Whaleoilfurry, WhaleOil1/WhaleOil2, Cettus4, NSFWmeezer

WhaleOil is a Canadian furry artist who draws a lot of military artwork that resembles the videogame concept artist Viktor Antonov’s work. He is friendly with/active in Reagan Lodge’s circle – noticeably, he linked up with Lodge AFTER the latter’s exposure as a Nazi. Like Lodge, Sabourin attempts to hide his fascist sympathies as more ‘neutral’ but he was a bit sloppier about it… actually, much sloppier. For one, he’s posted openly in the past about admiring the Nazis on his still abandoned Curiouscat – (with two-facedness to call broad groups “swine” while claiming to be for “the people”… which color?)

“World building” from WhaleOil

Some of this was discussed on twitter previously, here in this thread. More with samples of his work is easy to search.

There’s WhaleOil and a friend drawn in the style of Boogaloo Boys in a Hawaiian shirt. It should be noted that Hawaiian/tiki aesthetics were also seen at Charlottesville. Revival of the tiki aesthetic was popularized in the 90’s by nazi musician and “rape advocate” Boyd Rice, which connects it to far right movements in the present day.

Hawaiian shirts and tiki aesthetic is usually innocuous by itself; but when mingled with militarism and other dogwhistles, it points to far-right sympathies.

There was fallout between him and another military history furry, whose name we’ll skip to focus on the main stuff. They went on record saying that WhaleOil isn’t just interested in history or being ironic about reactionary thinking. These tweets have since been deleted.

Above is WhaleOil’s Youtube channel in his real name, showing subscriptions to Pewdiepie and a fascist parody he uploaded of a Gilette Ad about masculinity, making it feature Oswald Mosley, leader of the British Union of Fascists.

Sabourin’s current new obsession, with all that talk of ‘productivity’, seems to be Henry Ford – presumably because Ford was a raging anti-semite, who distributed fascist tracts such as The International Jew, and was a die-hard admirer of Hitler whose company even assisted the Nazis in WWII, as well as giving military support to Francisco Franco in the Spanish Civil War in the form of tanks.

Sabourin’s history in furry as a community is much shorter than Lodge’s, but his fascism obsession runs deep judging by his youtube – with even his older tumblr account, ‘thatotherwhaleoil’ (now since deleted) having art of foxes dressed as fascist blackshirts. And, well, there’s this ‘delightful’ art he did turning the Christchurch shooter into a furry. (He’s not the first fascist to do that.)

Link to callout post (Our red label)

Marko Milankhov (?) AKA Mawkvult, Askymzbuki, Eastern Crow
https://twitter.com/MAWKVLT
https://askymzbuki.tumblr.com/

This Sabourin/Lodge orbiter was exposed in the Iron March leaks under the name “Eastern Crow”. He’s an Eastern Orthodox convert living in Serbia, has went through several usernames and previous accounts (previous ones including ‘SinningCrow’ which are now deleted), and is very, very eager to publicly harass and threaten to dox people – his technique of ‘doxxing’ people is to send them money on Paypal under fake names. It should be worth noting that the anti-fascists who run the Ironmarch leaks/dossiers blog, know his real name which admittedly could be possibly misremembered here.

What distinguished Marko a bit from Sabourin and Lodge is that he never stops posting – this guy’s account is a stream of right-wing messaging – Marko seems to be a bit of a rising star in the ‘military history’ furry art scene, judging by all the commissions he has done that resemble Lodge’s artstyle. His constant account hopping could be evasion of being monitored. You could perhaps contact the people behind the Ironmarch Dossiers blog for more confirmation.

Other orbiters of note:

This section is improved with trimming lesser details to honor the wonderful feedback of all our caring readers, and although it may not be the ideal response, to spare anyone who had changed or been misjudged. We’ll briefly mention some art and backgrounds that were seen.

Country demographics of the Lodge/Sabourin scene made an interesting, although anecdotal note; Eastern Europe was as common as Central/South America. Although the region is home to many allies, like other places, it had reactionary politics in its history:

Besides personal origins, there was art that mingled Italian Futurist artwork (historically connected with fascism), Soviet uniforms, and Italian ‘Arditi’ uniforms – the Arditi were the precursor to Mussolini’s Blackshirts, in the same way the WWI German ‘stormtroopers’ were precursors to the far-right Freikorps militias, whose members also joined the Nazis’s ‘stormtrooper’ Brownshirts. We noticed art of furries in the uniforms of the Hlinka Guard, the Slovakian collaborationist movement that sided with the Nazis and took part in the Holocaust (see the section at the bottom on ‘tradcaths’). Mingled or incoherent symbolism may marry fascist imagery with historic ‘workers’ imagery. The more it harmonizes with other dogwhistles, the more it can be a tell of Nazbol ideology (covered below.)

There is one notable fascist furry that seems to have no real presence publicly…

Casen aka Ironmarch’s Kacen
https://www.furaffinity.net/user/casen/
https://g6jy5jkx466lrqojcngbnksugrcfxsl562bzuikrka5rv7srgguqbjid.onion.ly/fa/kacen/

The big one – Ironmarch’s token furry admin, and the odd one out of its admins in that he has not either been publicly exposed such as Alisher Mukhitdinov (aka Alexander Slavros, now in hiding) – or Benjamin Kyle Raymond (former leader of National Action, now imprisoned).

Kacen apparently got involved in this motley crew on Deviantart in the late 2000s, and helped run the first iteration of Ironmarch for them, the ‘International Third Positionist Federation’ – that itself grew out of their Deviantart Nazi scene (that had the likes of infamous serial killer fan/artist Torture-device, who may also have been an Ironmarch admin too).

It seems that Kacen was friends with Reagan Lodge from the very start, and had invited him to Ironmarch. By chance, Kacen’s current identity, Casen (extremely subtle), was found by art of his sona on furaffinity. This was instantly recognizable – it is the exact same fursona that Kacen had during the peak of his fascist activities, which he tried to spread to Second Life no less.

Thanks in part to both Furaffinity and the preserved Onion archive of Kacen, we can confirm that one of the founders of an actual terrorist group, is still present in the furry community to this day, with other fascists in the fandom ready to pass his torch.

PART (2) – Lowdown on the obscure reactionary ideologies/dogwhistles

What separates the Lodge/Sabourin axis from Altfurry is that, due to being more ideological than Altfurry was, they also know a bit better how to claim plausible deniability. Whilst being diehard fascists, unlike Altfurry they tend to be a bit shy from openly saying racial slurs or cheering for genocide… most of the time, anyway. This means that usually, the members of the Lodge/Sabourin scene will draw on the imagery of relatively more obscure fascist movements (as seen above; Italian Fascists, Hlinka Guard, etc). Beyond this are also an array of more obscure ideologies and practices very common among the Lodge/Sabourin scene, and indeed a good chunk of the twitter-dwelling far-right (ie Perfume Nationalist orbiters). This section is lengthy, so apologies in advance.

‘National Bolsheviks’ aka Nazbols

This apparently contradictory ideology is espoused by many in particularly Whaleoil’s circle, and whilst having been deeply obscure for decades, surprisingly has been there from fascism’s beginning but was resurrected by Russian nationalists in the 90s, then by Ironmarch (which, natch, had been set up by a Russian fascist, Alexander Slavros, who had worked with these ones, and apparently had quite the love for Stalin as a leader)

This tendency started in both German nationalist circles, and the Russian nationalist emigre that had left the country after the Russian Civil War (one of these Russians, Nikolay Ustralyov, having been idolized on Ironmarch) but its greatest claim to fame before the 90s was that it was more or less the ideology of Ernst Rohm and the Strasser brothers, who were purged out of the Nazi Party in the Night of the Long Knives (Otto Strasser, the surviving Strasser, would attempt to restart his Nazi Party offshoot, ‘the Black Front’, after the war). ‘National Bolshevism’ did not get any real traction again until the 90s in Russia when the National Bolshevik Party was set up, and currently exists in the USA in the form of Ironmarch user and Orthodox convert (see below about the Orthodox convert/fascism connection) Mathew Heimbach’s Traditionalist Worker Party – the flags are really subtle about what sort of ideologies this is intending to marry.

Otto Strasser (the surviving Strasser brother) after the war

Russian National Bolshevik demonstration

Mathew Heimbach

Whilst seeming like a ridiculous contradiction of an ideology thanks to fascism’s historically fierce ‘anti-Bolshevism’, it actually makes a certain kind of sense – to the sort of brain poisoned nerds that would be trying to spread fascism in the furry fandom of all places anyway. ‘Nazbols’ idolize in particular the Soviet Union, especially under the Stalinist era, as well as similarly militarized communist states such as China at the height of Maoism, or North Korea. (There are even those who endorse Pol Pot – these tend to overlap more with the Unabomber fans, see below).

The appeal these regimes have to military obsessed, culturally reactionary nerds is obvious – under Stalin the USSR was fiercely militaristic, a police state, and culturally reactionary and oppressive (homosexuality being classed as ‘bourgeois’ and warranting imprisonment). Between that, the imagery of Red Army parades, and all the kitschy ‘socialist realism’ artwork of the era, it’s no wonder it would seem appealing to people who idolize the fascist regimes for identical reasons – especially if they despise what the current Left is, which is being all about cultural criticism, aversion to the police/military and open sexuality/gender expression.

Whaleoil was a blatant Nazbol in this scene, at one point following ‘Boulderlob’, a Nazbol ‘parody’ of infamous rightwing cartoonist Stonetoss (all it actually adds in is praising North Korea, which says a bit about the ideology’s supposedly radical qualities).

This is probably confusing to the sort of self-described ‘tankies’ online who think Stalin was ‘a smol woke bae’ but to anyone else it is blatant. Nazbols online rarely use the actual National Bolshevik flag – it’s too obvious a tell – but they tend to use other bastardizations of historic ‘workers’ imagery, such as hammers, sickles, and other traditional anarchist/communist imagery (Red Army soldiers, pastiches of ‘socialist realism’ art, the IWW logo) which sometimes makes them hard to spot. The more subtle (or so they think) Nazbols will sometimes even refer to themselves as ‘leftists’ or ‘communists’, as their ideology states that they are the ‘true’ leftists. (This is, again, possibly what they see in the Stalin-era USSR that would have people killed for any ideological infraction – particularly related to ‘bourgeois’ ‘degenerate’ sexuality). This is nothing new when some ‘post-left’ orbiting Perfume Nationalist is touting that same line. Usually the biggest tell of whether someone is a Nazbol or not is when they draw fascist soldiers alongside ‘communist’ ones or pally with outright fash. Language of ‘real workers’ whilst being scathing of LGBT or other social issues, is a big tell of both ‘Nazbols’ and ‘post-left’ reactionaries.

Matthew Heimbach with his white supremacist group and Romanian Iron Guard flag

Orthodox Christian converts 

Perhaps the most unhinged new development in the far-right scene, which considering the types that already infest it is saying something. Whilst appearing to be an entirely new development, Orthodox Christianity and fascism have a surprisingly long, and vicious connection together, that culminated in the Holocaust in several countries. The most fierce of the various Orthodox fascist movements was Romania’s Iron Guard aka the Legion of the Archangel Michael – so religious was this particular movement that its leader, Corneliu Codreanu, insisted that he had been visited by the actual angel Michael. The Iron Guard was infamous for its brutality compared to even other fascist movements, with bizarre rituals involving blood drinking, and briefly ruled Romania under the ‘National Legionary State’ before it was ousted in an inter-political spat, with the Legion committing the vicious Bucharest pogrom in response – they would even skin their victims alive and hang them from meat hooks, something that even repelled the Nazis. When the Iron Guard was ousted, its former collaborator Ion Antonescu would rule the country under a military junta, and was Hitler’s most fervent ally – and a fierce anti-semite who did not need any backing to deport Jews and other ethnic minorities to extermination camps under his reign.

Romania was not the only Orthodox Christian fascist regime – Greece was briefly ruled under the fascist junta of Ioannis Metaxas’s ‘4th of August regime’, before it was then invaded by the Nazis and replaced with a puppet regime, the Hellenic State, whose vicious ‘Security Battalions’ performed brutal executions on communist partisans and rounded up Jews to send to death camps as well. Some of these former Hellenic State collaborators (given a slap on the wrist by the West in order to help them fight communist militants after the war) would then form the US-backed ‘Regime of the Colonels’ in the 1960s, and both the Metaxas and Colonels regimes are idolized by Golden Dawn, Greece’s vicious neo-Nazi movement. All of these regimes/movements professed Orthodox Christianity, citing it as their bulwark against godless communism, and the Greek Orthodox Church firmly supported both the Metaxas and Colonels governments, as it did Golden Dawn as well.

How do a couple of backwards fascist regimes in 1930s-40s Romania and 1930s-40s/1960s Greece connect to modern American fascists? Again, the answer is Ironmarch. Codreanu, Antonescu and Golden Dawn were idolized by Ironmarch’s founders and members, with Codreanu’s blathering tracts such as ‘For My Legionaires’ being shared to its users (the site even briefly had a ‘Fascist Internet Archive’ in a bad imitation of the Marxist Internet Archive – unsurprisingly it was tiny compared to the latter, as fascist ideology is historically not ‘intellectual’ or thoughtful if it can rely on obedience and violence) – and noticeably, both Reagan Lodge and Mathew Heimbach had been users on it, and ergo converted to Orthodox Christianity soon after, as did other Ironmarch veterans such as EasternCrow.

There are more relevant connections as to why Orthodox fascism spreads easily, if not for how much Eastern European fascists of all stripes flourished on both Ironmarch (with several Russian and Serbian users), and on 4chan, whose various ‘international’ boards, the places were some of the most insufferable internet memes came from, most of them started from rabid Balkan nationalists. (See: the infamous ‘Serbia Strong/Remove Kebab’ meme, making light of the Bosnian genocide which was committed by Orthodox, Serbian nationalists.) There is also the fact of how the Pope in recent years has began giving more liberal gestures, making him less appealing to whatever Catholic fascists are about… which brings us to;

Catholic converts aka ‘Tradcaths’

History of Italian fascism and the Vatican

Again, a relatively new online development with a very long real-world history – Catholicism and reactionary movements have been hand in hand for nearly 2 centuries, so it is no wonder that modern fascists would get the hint, especially when two of the most ‘successful’ fascist regimes in history – Antonio Salazar’s Portugal, and Francisco Franco’s Spain – were indeed ‘traditional Catholic’ clerical fascist states. (Never mind also, that Fascist Italy also worked hand in hand with the Catholic church), as well as the Austrian ‘Fatherland Front’ regime of Engelbert Dolfuss (who nominally opposed Nazism only due to Germany’s nationalist ideals to take over Austria – the two regimes were more or less identical otherwise, with Austria even having its own SS style militia, the Sturm Korps). Despite Ironmarch being full of the sort of godawful nerds who would make distinctions about ‘true fascism’ or not, it had several staunch Catholic users. There were several more outright vicious Catholic movements that, of course, collaborated with the Nazis and took part in the Holocaust – a lot of these having had fanart drawn of them by Whaleoil’s scene.

The three most notable of the Catholic fascist collaborator movements were Jozef Tiso’s Hlinka Guard in Slovakia, Ante Pavelic’s Ustase in Croatia, and Leon Degrelle’s Rexists in Belgium – all three were ardent collaborators with the Nazis (Tiso and Degrelle even sent troops to fight with the Germans against the Soviets). All three took part in the Holocaust (the Ustase being the most vicious of all, perhaps the Catholic equivalent to the Iron Guard, as they would not use bullets or gas chambers, but instead burn people alive and slit victims throats with a wrist-mounted knife). And all three were fervently Catholic. This distinction may sound like pointless fluff, but I feel it’s important as several of the ‘Orthodox’ and ‘tradcath’ types try to pretend their ideologies were either not fascist, or opposed to Hitler. (This ties in with untruth spread by Christian revisionists that the Nazis were ‘anti-Christian’ – when the truth was, the Nazis actually wanted to heal the Protestant-Catholic divide in Germany with a new ‘Positive Christianity’, hence why Nazi Germany never became fully ‘clerical fascist’ like Portugal, Spain, Austria, the collaborator regimes, or even Italy).

Religious fascism of the Christian sort already has a long-standing history in the USA as is, what with the existence of Father Coughlin in the 1930s. Coughlin was perhaps the precedent to Alex Jones and the most militant fascist the USA ever had – and that’s not even getting into the USA’s huge contingent of Evangelicals either. It is only the Orthodox converts that are the new guys on the block, but them and their Catholic cousins are far more easy to spot than Nazbols – profiles with the Vatican flag or the Orthodox cross in their usernames are always a dead giveaway, especially if the profile then has scripture quotes or some sort of religious artwork for a banner (coupled with a furry or anime avatar half the time). The scene around Lodge/Sulacoyote and Sabourin/Whaleoil is infested with other Orthodox and Catholic converts who often draw art of the collaborator regimes, with even Whaleoil having drawn artwork of furries dressed as Orthodox priests. (It possibly ties in with his undying obsession for the fictional religious orders in Looking Glass Studio’s Thief games, which he has drawn tons of fanart of and even cosplayed as.)

‘Primitivists’ aka Unabomber fans

These are perhaps the most bizarre and incoherent of the lot, somewhere between Nazbols and Orthodox converts on the insanity scale. It is, again, not very surprising if you know how the more ‘esoteric’ fascists operate – obsession with themes of nature and ‘folk’ have been a mainstay of fascist bullshit since the start, from the Nazis drawing on ‘Volkische’ nonsense, to the aesthetics of bands such as Death in June and Current 93, to even infamous Nazi black metal musician Varg Vikernes now becoming a massive Tolkien nerd (Tolkien himself wrote articles supporting Franco and his Nationalists in the Spanish Civil War).

This form of bizarre ‘back to the land’ fascism’s ideological pinnacle comes in the form of two ‘primitivist’ ideologues – Ted Kaczynski aka the ‘Unabomber’, and the more obscure Pentti Linkola, a sort of Finnish equivalent to Kaczynski (minus the terrorism part) whose great idea to solve the climate crisis was more or less mass genocide and eugenics. Kaczynski in general is especially appealing to fascists – despite all the claims that his ideology was ‘hard to pin down’, he was basically a rightwinger who snapped, and his manifesto is full of pithy snipes against the gay liberation movement and feminism. These sort of ‘ecological’ fascists are rare to come by, but usually can be easily spotted by directly referencing Kaczynski or Linkola’s names, quotations from either’s manifestos, general ‘back to the land’ yap, or using that one police sketch of the Unabomber as an icon.

These types will typically tend to be aligned with other ‘folk’ minded fascists usually obsessing over Norse runes and whatever (always easy to spot) unless they happen to be Orthodox/Catholic converts, sharing memes about Death in June and other neofolk bands, or sharing images and ‘funny’ posts relating to Varg Vikernes since he became a Gandalf cosplayer. They will typically have little tree icons in their profiles, usually wedged next to the lightning bolts, Vatican flags or Orthodox crosses. Sometimes these types will have overlap with the Nazbols, the focal point being Pol Pot especially due to his slaughter of ‘intellectuals’ – and occasionally, other more incoherent ideologies not particularly loved by typical far-rightists, such as Islamism or Gaddafi’s Green Book.

You will also see references to pine trees from the ecofascist / primmie subset, some describing themselves as followers of “Deep Ecology” (in connection to Linkola). Pine tree flags were spotted at the January 6th insurrection and pine tree emojis can be found in the profiles of online reactionaries.

Thanks to the guest author for this huge report! We needed this when even the obscure references have been seen on the fringe by the editor.

NEW AND IMPROVED editor’s note:

It’s nice to host guest writers. Often, if something reads as thoughtful and linked to lots of supporting material, it goes out as the writers intend.

Of course there is the value of “less is more”. A triple length story that hits big parts good might do better with less.

When the writers don’t make people happy, people do comments like these.

(Person briefly mentioned in the story): Basically, what they’re writing on is true, and a pretty fucking annoying problem. As an artist who draws millitary stuff and happens to be in the millitary, I attract these people like flies. There’s literally too many of them to do anything about. I have examples time and time again of them commenting cringey shit on my art. Personally I try to stay as far away from the political sphere while not being a huge pushover or enabler, because I really don’t know that much. I’m essentially a bluecollar worker that happens to draw stuff that either turns me on or I think is cool. The issue here and that since I don’t always blatantly announce where I am politically (for reasons mentioned above) people like to fill in the blanks with whatever they want me to be. And I really have no idea who Lodge is. The last gripe I have is how much weight the authors seemed to put on who someone follows or has following them. To a lot of us, Twitter is literally just to post furry porn and pictures of cars, and I have a habit of following back randomly. I have way more important things in my life than screening every single one of my followers or the people I follow, nor am I responsible for the weird shit some talented artist did in their past. That’s between them and the offended party.

Dogpatch, I love you guys, but some of these people aren’t war-hungry nazi idiots!! It hurts seeing Crassus on there especially, who seems to focus on African militia and hasn’t shown a shred of nazi ideology. Hell, a lot of these people are leftists!!

— ranibow sprimkle boy (@plushievik) March 9, 2022

If I had one sentence to describe that, it would be : "it's not reasonable"
It can even be ridiculous at times
I think you write well. I don't understand why you need to bother with this. Yes there's nazi, it does exist.
But don't post it if you don't have solid proofs

— crit102-Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Enthusiast (@Marikermrua) March 9, 2022

This was a tough read, Patch, and not because of the subject. The armchair psychology, historical tangents and pointless art criticism didn't do the readability oft his piece any favours.

Coupled with some call-outs seeming to be purely conjecture… makes it a bit of a grind.

— Baikal (@Baikalicious) March 9, 2022

The salty replies to this really show how Reagan Lodge could do nazi fan art while being among literal terrorists, and still be popular for decades https://t.co/u12NnnGv95

— Nazifur Receipts (@NazifurReceipts) March 9, 2022

A – True.
B – Thanks.
C – Fair.
D – Honest.
E – Also true.

Anyways, I constantly read people saying, we should have a better news site! Why doesn’t someone make a better news site!

YEAH, I’VE BEEN SAYING THAT FOR YEARS! I’ll be a big reader when you start it!

Meanwhile, things are better and better here all the time. That’s why the several writers were asked to update.

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Try these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for news or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

The illicit allure of Smokey Bear, US Forest Service mascot

Tue 8 Mar 2022 - 10:00

The annual Ursa Major Awards are open — Vote now for the fandom’s favorite creations!

Out in the wild, I saw a human sharing some very furry-adjacent news. Suzyn was on a group for paid Slate podcast subscribers, and this story was her suggestion for one they should do. If they wouldn’t, I thought someone should. Thanks to Suzyn for her parts, and I added comments for furry readers.

There was a related Slate story from December 2020: When Did Smokey Bear Get So Hot?

It shows his buff yiffability predates furries. Don’t blame us! Hot anthropomorphic animal people are just nature’s way of showing imagination is healthy. Proof:

Phwoarrr.

When Smokey was a newly-minted mascot, there was a risk to taking this farther. The 1950’s American government, preoccupied with Red Scares, might have forecasted a subversively thirsty fandom and made their love forbidden.

A law passed in 1952 made it ILLEGAL to misuse the image of Smokey Bear. (Not Smokey THE Bear, the Forest Service gets salty about that). You could be JAILED. Here’s the law: 18 U.S. Code § 711“Smokey Bear” character or name.

A stiff sentence for yiff

In an omnibus bill passed by Congress in December 2020, this law was repealed for reasons unclear. (If I’m ever forced to testify about furries infiltrating the government, I’ll take the 5th).

This law was why Suzyn noticed Smokey; she personally wouldn’t mess with the government’s intellectual property rights, but it made her curious. She started looking into Smokey and the rules and fandom for him, and found it pretty fun.

First off, the rules for dressing up as Smokey are almost exactly the rules about being a Disney cast member in character at Disney theme parks — as in — they are to a layperson’s eye oddly strict:

Click to access finalsmokeyhandoutsacessibleforweb.pdf

Yes, the government mandates no breaking the magic. They say don’t be a stinker, brush your fur, bring an escort, and no wardrobe malfunctions or impropriety for the shirtless shoveler. It means sirens would go off if he tried to sneak into a furry convention after dark party.

Second, if you want to properly gear up to prevent forest fires, www.smokeybear.com links to a shovelful of Official Smokey Bear Licensees and Products.

For $2499 plus a $635 cooling system, there’s a full Smokey costume from pro mascot supplier Facemakers Inc. (“Sold ONLY to US and Canadian Foresters.”) If you can pony up 11 grand, Robotronics has an animated RoBear. There’s also an 8-foot inflatable costume from Signs & Shapes International.

Third, he was a real bear and in the 1950’s was so cool he needed a zipcode for his fan mail, something that may not even be true for Elvis.

The brawny hunk-a burnin’ love starred in many ads, TV and radio guest spots with celebrity hosts like Bing Crosby. There’s a decade-by-decade timeline with many of them.

Fourth, if your dream guest is Betty White, you’re in luck.

The history of Smokey Bear, the other celebrities who have appeared in ads with Smokey Bear, the “Smokey Bear effect” and, um, youtube fan videos where he fights McGruff are all out there. 


Obviously, there’s a huge rabbit hole of weird. If you make videos, or have a podcast, a LOT of it is audio friendly and there may be some park rangers who would love to talk to you!

If you enjoyed this, you’ll probably enjoy this podcast — technically about Woodsy the Owl — but it discusses all those odd laws that also covered Smokey. (February 23, 2021): UnderUnderstood — Give a Hoot, Don’t Pollute.

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Try these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for news or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

Furries in war: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine through the eyes of Tillian The Fox

Fri 25 Feb 2022 - 10:00

Has war ever come to any sizeable part of the furry fandom, in 4 decades of growth for this worldwide group?

There are members who went to fight in foreign lands, or maybe had relatives flee when war happened. I’m just not recalling any place where hundreds or thousands of them had their houses shaken by hostile tanks, jets and shelling.

Strong explosions began in my Ukrainian suburb, we try not to panic, everyone is alive. How I wish there was no war.

— Helen San (@HelenSanOwO2) February 24, 2022

This hobby writer in California is challenged to cover news of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. There are furries on both sides. Recent Russian news here leads me to know about Russian furries sent to Ukraine, where they may kill Ukrainian furries. Furries with political aid jobs will help guide refugees to safety. Others face military conscription to fight back.

They see what I see: “the first time in the history of furry fandom that almost all members of one country are in fact combatants / victims of war.”@DimaOusti

The imperialist attack on a fully-accessible European nation feels as personal as the stress of a fursuit maker forced to flee, leaving his suits and bicycle behind.

I got tickets to Lviv. I'll stay there for several days or a week. Or unless it's getting worse. I don't want to leave my place, my bike and my precious suits. But I have to.
I still might need financial help, it's tricky, but possible to send money to Ukraine #StayWithUkraine

🇺🇦 Furoar Suits ✂ (@FuroarSuits) February 24, 2022

An inside view takes grounding beyond a smidgen of Soviet Bloc history, and outstanding incidents that made North American news. Beware of industrialized deception. (Putin’s propaganda has tried to disrupt American elections too; you can take it personally while reviewing history of the conflict.)

Using translation apps and tips to visit Ukrainian furry groups feels like you don’t even know where to start. Imagine everyone you know showing you burning things near their house, and talking about picking up weapons to repel invaders. You feel at a loss for how to help with just words.

Here’s a thread based on Twitter and Telegram activity. There’s a map of furry chats in Ukraine, including 4 in capital city Kyiv alone; and a group owner estimate of 1000 or more furries in the country. Kyiv’s furry con is WUFF (UAfurence).

Here's a contact I made to try learning what's going on with Ukraine furry groups. It's hard to get a sense of happenings from far outside, so it's a very basic start. pic.twitter.com/bR8WIeN2sL

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) February 25, 2022

Thankfully, tips are coming to help.

The following story comes from Tillian the Fox. He explains: “Scary and dark stuff is going on and I need people to know this. Also I wanted to warn people that they should be vigilant and critical of what info they see online, because there is a lot of misinformation going around.”

My name is Tim, I am 18 years old, and I am a furry, I live in Kazakhstan, and although I am not the citizen of either Russia or Ukraine, I have relatives and friends from Ukraine, who I love and deeply care about.

Yesterday morning, I got a few voice messages in our Telegram chat from my friend Elena, she is from Ukraine. (name changed for anonymity). She was crying, she was terrified and she told me she didn’t know what to do.

I was confused. I asked her what the hell was going on. Elena told me that the Russian Army attacked her country and that she can hear the sounds of explosions far away.

And then she sent me multiple messages and videos of news sources in Telegram.

According to them, on 24th February at about 3:00 UTC, President of Russia Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation” in East Ukraine, and few minutes after that, missile strikes began at locations all across the country, including the capital Kyiv, and two hours later, Russian ground military forces entered the country.

I instantly logged onto Twitter to see what was happening, and the whole feed was in absolute chaos.

Each and every one of my friends in Ukraine were in panic. They posted sounds and videos of explosions and shots fired in their cities, air raid sirens going off, helicopters flying above the rooftops.

Some of them tweeted about evacuating and leaving the country, people were reposting safety threads about what to do during an air raid, where to seek shelter and what stuff they should take with themselves.

Small video to realize that this conflict is not a game.
It is really horrible what is happening.
Courage to @HelenSanOwO2 and to all Ukrainians who are there!

🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/HvTukJa3gL

— Over44 🇺🇦 (@Over__44) February 25, 2022

I still remember that gut-wrenching feeling of dread and fear when I actually realized the whole scale and danger of the situation.

I was afraid, just like them — and even though bombs and missiles were no threat to my hometown, I simply could not believe that this was happening, I just could not believe that this might be the last time I will ever see my relatives or friends.

Fortunately enough, by the time I write this, they are still alive.

Over time, it got progressively worse though. People were posting news and information. There was destruction, civilian deaths and terror, innocent people losing their homes, lives, families because of this senseless war.

In the evening, my friends from Russia, and dozens of other people went on a anti-war protest. There were rallies all across the country, including Saint Petersburg and Moscow.

Russian citizens wanted to rebel, to show this world that they don’t want this war and will do anything to stop this invasion, even at risk of being arrested or beaten up by the police. Among the protesters were the elderly WW2 veterans, who have fought against the nazis and have seen the war.

Anti-war protest in Saint Petersburg, Russia (by Anton Vaganov of Reuters) – From a good Facebook post by Rebecca Solnit

And here is what I have to say. I don’t care how much anyone who reads this story will judge me.

I don’t care what the Russian government thinks it will achieve with this violence. This is not how it is supposed to be.

At my young age of 18 years, I am supposed to hang out with my friends, not to shake in fear, thinking that I might see my Ukrainian relatives or friends for the last time.

At 18, I should be throwing parties, not monitoring military movements on the internet.

I am supposed to read books, to devote time to my dreams and hobbies, I am supposed to think about what clothes to go out in, to play video games and argue if Nirvana is better than Pink Floyd, BUT I CAN’T.

Because somewhere out there the Kremlin army is KILLING PEOPLE.

Not only the inhabitants of Ukraine got involved, but also everyone who has friends, lovers and relatives from this country.

But it is not supposed to be like this. defenseless people and children are not supposed to die, bullets are not supposed to whistle, and houses are not supposed to blow up.

No violence is ever justified, and I appeal to every person who reads this. Please, protest, donate to humanitarian organizations that help Ukrainian people and let the world know what is happening here. Don’t let the voices of the victims to be forgotten.

Because it’s not supposed to be like this.

Tillian The Fox

Here is some charity donation information. Keep in mind that direct donation isn’t allowed to Ukrainians by PayPal, Ko-fi, etc. Crowdfunds may restrict military related funding. You may need to research methods or charities that aren’t restricted.

Ill try to sleep. Hope I dont wake up in a drastically different world. Consider supporting a Ukrainian charity , a good list was published on reddit (linked). Love you buns… hope to update you very soon.https://t.co/Q5rQztElij

— Zepla 🌙🐇🌱🇺🇦 (@Xepla) February 24, 2022

For everyone who is interested in sending money to Ukraine. I remind you, Ukraine can not receive money with PayPal. All donation services, like Ko-Fi, that requires PayPal, won't work.

🇺🇦 Furoar Suits ✂ (@FuroarSuits) February 25, 2022

#artforUA
Callout for artists today!
Many of you asked me if you can join. YES ABSOLUTELY.
All you need to do is join us during our streams -online or offline and offer sketches for the proof of donation to one of listed charities. pic.twitter.com/kx6ueOmb3m

— Wereblajn (@Blajnart) February 25, 2022

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Try these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for news or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

5 shot, 1 dead in Portland mass shooting; suspect Ben Smith was right-wing extremist furry

Tue 22 Feb 2022 - 09:57

CNN reports “The Saturday night shooting in Portland, Oregon, that left one woman dead and five people injured started with a confrontation between an armed homeowner and armed protesters, according to a Portland Police Bureau news release issued Sunday.”

It can be hard to trust police accounts if the shooter wasn’t actually a homeowner, and it was a one-sided attack on unarmed targets until one defender shot back. Those are the claims of some sources. The New York Times has a victim’s account that they were volunteering to reroute traffic for safety ahead of a protest, but weren’t protesting when they were threatened. One victim was a woman who walked with a cane. Oregon Live identifies a slain volunteer as June Knightly, 60.

The sources include investigators who identify the suspect as Ben Smith, 43, an outcast of the furry community. There’s also furries who know Smith, and local journalists with a history of reporting against political spin and suppression. Some of them compared this to other chaotic incidents with unreliable official news, delays and failures to respond until authorities were forced to by public protest.

At the time of writing, the police haven’t named Ben Smith, but the media has. People grieving the tragedy are waiting for the arrest.

It appears that this story may be another incident of right-wing violence with a risk of biased official response. And, it’s another incident from a far-right fringe of furry fandom that the main community strongly rejects. It’s been compared to the July 2020 shooting of Garrett Foster by Daniel Perry, a far-right furry who was controversially let go with no murder charges for a year.

UPDATE (Feb 22): Benjamin Jeffrey Smith charged with one count of second degree murder, four counts of attempted first degree murder with a firearm, as well as four counts of assault with a firearm.

The history of Portland shooting suspect Ben Smith (furry name Polybun) indicates his violence was predictable and motivated by hate. The facts may come from independent reporters and even furry news. Some may be pulled from investigator files because of record deletion we’re watching as the news comes out.

A right wing extremist shot into a crowd of unarmed traffic safety volunteers.

Portland mayor Ted Wheeler is ignoring this, the police are actively trying to obscure the realities while grifters like Andy Ngo attempt to characterize this as left wing terrorism. https://t.co/ZDU5y72Bsz

— Robert Evans (The Only Robert Evans) (@IwriteOK) February 21, 2022

I was part of a small group of researchers who uncovered the identity of Garrett Foster's murderer, Daniel Perry, in 2020.

We were *barely* able to archive Perry's social media before Austin PD helped him to scrub it. Portland today feels identical. 2/ https://t.co/ucFNTNNZwF

— Chad Loder (@chadloder) February 21, 2022

As soon as the Portland shooting connected to furries, the shooting of Garrett Foster by Daniel Perry instantly came to mind. I’d worked to archive Perry’s far-right furry connections before they were deleted, that went unremarked by mainstream news.

Ash, a furry local to the Perry story comments about the news from Portland:

Man… There’s a lot of PTSD going on for me on this. Garrett Foster’s murder where they found out the killer had a FurAffinity account… Tore shit apart in the local scene.

Perry’s violence joined a list of violent terrorist connections and other shootings from the far-right furry fringe. It’s a chain of incidents by now, and people who watch extremism could see where Ben Smith/Polybun was heading.

"There's no such thing as nazi furries", right? Here's a long list of some of their deepest ties, and there's no equivalent "alt-left" or body count. https://t.co/CGFCzVG6Up

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) February 22, 2022

Documenting this chain is important to show it’s a chain, and not just chaos or surprise. It’s also important to get ahead of suppression and “both sides” spin that lacks the context of a predictable, hate-motivated attack.

Independent investigators recognize the value of watchdogs inside the community. Their cooperation seems to work better than either kind working alone; insiders share unique knowledge, while outsiders help curate it to reduce rumor and establish truth.

Depending on developments soon, there are exclusive connections on file to the Portland shooting that may be reported here.

For now, here’s some of those investigators and watchdogs that help link up the chain.

The Portland shooter repeatedly fantasized about shooting protesters. In this Telegram exchange on the "Free Fur All 2022" channel (for racist furries who were banished from Fur Con):

"there had better be no hesitation on your part. do not be the second one to draw and fire" pic.twitter.com/k27m5rNlwF

— Chad Loder (@chadloder) February 22, 2022

As with other right-wing mass shooters, Benjamin Smith was already on the radar of community members for his violent posts. See this thread from September 2021 for example. https://t.co/mk4iWdliVB

— Chad Loder (@chadloder) February 22, 2022

Polybun wants the Proud Boys to "shoot people up" and thinks their victims would "deserve" it. Off to a nice start. Only a few messages in and no talk of furries, just political violence.

But somehow according to Cani "Leftists are the real bigots" pic.twitter.com/XrbfWUYV5F

— Dr. Jazzy Vidalia, ThD. (@JazzyVidalia) September 15, 2021

He was well known as being alt-right adjacent with ties to hate groups. He was largely ostracized from the furry community and was a known problem locally. He was banned from both of Oregon's furry conventions and other events. I've had personal dealings with him in the past

— Triss Winters (@TrissWinters) February 22, 2022

He was even in a chat where they were making jokes about giving me "range therapy". But after so many years of this I've been desensitized to people threatening to kill me.https://t.co/yQEsED6uBh

— Deo ❤🖤 (@DeoTasDevil) February 22, 2022

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Try these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for news or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

The Good Furry Award is open for nominations for people who improve the fandom.

Sat 12 Feb 2022 - 10:00

Don’t miss your chance to nominate for the Ursa Major Awards – nominations close on Feb 12!

2022 GOOD FURRY AWARD – Nominate furries HERE.

This annual award is run by Grubbs Grizzly to recognize furries who make outstanding positive contributions to the fandom. The first one in 2019 went to Tony “Dogbomb” Barrett. In 2020 the award (and a $500 check) went to Ash Coyote. In 2021, Cassidy Civet won. Each winner gets a check and a trophy.

There’s a few new things for the 4th award:

  1. Grubbs is shortening the voting time from January to April, and voting will be in May. He’s hoping to do an award ceremony at a certain Reno convention.
  2. Grubbs is asking people to submit photos or videos of their nominees being pawsome, which may be compiled into a video.
  3. This year there will be a new Lifetime Achievement Award, selected by Uncle Bear Publishing in addition to regular awards.

Here’s a list of current nominees that can tell you why people nominate. For example, Soatok Dhole helped a library gain over $100,000 in funding.

Grubbs explains why he started the award on the nomination page:

The Good Furry Award is about community spirit. This is not an award for who is the best fursuiter or artist or writer. It is not about being the most popular or being the furry who is seen on news broadcasts. It is about furries who do good works to promote and sustain the fandom and who represent the best in furry. Examples might be a person who does extraordinary work as a furcon volunteer, or who runs a charity, or who has done a lot to help furries in need, or who does something to promote a positive image of furries to the mundane world. I’m sure you understand the phrase “community spirit,” so nominate people based on that concept. The same goes for groups of people, organizations, and even businesses that help out furries.

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Try these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for news or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

The Buck Ups play fun classic songs with a two buck show.

Fri 11 Feb 2022 - 10:00

Don’t miss your chance to nominate for the Ursa Major Awards – nominations close on Feb 12!

There are furry music labels, furry DJ’s for furry dances, and furry bands. Here’s one with a good look. Many of them are like musicians in fursuits… but this is a band with a fursona. A deer duo, acoustic and rustic, and playing with hooves; that’s neat. OK, maybe the hooves are imaginary, but this would go well with furry camping. Here’s what they say about music and fawndom.

Ya know Twitter…The animal kingdom of the 60s produced great music from bands like the Turtles, Beatles, the Animals… and our favorite from the #Monkees sung by the legendary @TheMickyDolenz1.

It only makes sense now that two deer would play it.

“I’m a believer” pic.twitter.com/vHzVKPd5it

— The Buck Ups (@buck_ups) August 30, 2021

From Stagger Lee and Bucket:

Born out of a very chance twitter friendship, the Buck Ups have been making music together now for just over two years. It wasn’t until late of 2021 that the duo began their own twitter page – @Buck_ups. Posting for a year prior under both Stagger and Bucket’s own accounts, the two decided it was time to put forth the effort to centralize their sound. Here you’ll find our love for primarily 60s and 70s feel good music, with some surprises thrown in – as well as our favorite comedic gold unscripted moments and why we’re aptly called, “the Buck Ups.”

In 2018 Stagger Lee had started posting drumming videos to some classic rock songs, when he did a mashup of four Led Zeppelin tunes, and Bucket hesitantly posted his first guitar comment video with the tagline “Hey, wanna start a band?” The two still find it fate, as Bucket noted many times how he debated for a long time about actually posting a response like that. A fast friendship ensued. Bucket has been playing guitar for over 16 years, and Stagger a relatively new comer to the instrument just over 2 years. The two deer have been sharing ideas and songs they find near and deer to their heart for their twitter audience.

We’re probably a-typical of your furry music scene which primarily focuses on electronic music. Never afraid to be different, the two bucks love to share their quick less-than-2-minute snap shots of fun classic songs. It’s about having fun, and not taking ourselves seriously. We get tangled up in our antlers, we forget lyrics constantly, and chords are often made up on the spot. The banter is raw and real, the takes are often many – but we can’t wait to share more music. It’s about keeping music alive and breathing new life into these songs you forgot about.

Like what you hear? Want more? Give them a follow or bring them to a con. They won’t get frozen in the spotlights with stag fright if they have this much fun.

I’m an effort to migrate videos over to our new page, have a throwback of a classic “for what it’s worth” by the Buffalo Springfield.

Stay tuned for new music Monday! Just around the corner pic.twitter.com/vaEbXJmfDL

— The Buck Ups (@buck_ups) August 25, 2021

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Try these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for news or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

2 Days Left to Nominate for the Ursa Major Awards!

Thu 10 Feb 2022 - 10:00

Furry fandom’s Ursa Major awards honor the best, most loved anthropomorphic creations of the past year (2021.) There’s just a short time to nominate what the public can vote on. Get yours in while you can. Movies, art, books, news magazines, and more… which ones will the community choose?

Nominate HERE for the Ursas, but don’t wait until it’s too late! February 12 is the deadline.

Volunteers run this. Please support them so they can make a community award possible.

Since 2001, these awards have been run with long hours of unpaid work. The volunteers would appreciate any support you can give to defray costs for a website, making and mailing awards, and more.

Categories:

  • Best Anthropomorphic Motion Picture
  • Best Anthropomorphic Dramatic Short Work
  • Best Anthropomorphic Dramatic Series
  • Best Anthropomorphic Novel
  • Best Anthropomorphic Short Fiction
  • Best Anthropomorphic Other Literary Work
  • Best Anthropomorphic Non-Fiction Work
  • Best Anthropomorphic Graphic Story
  • Best Anthropomorphic Comic Strip
  • Best Anthropomorphic Magazine
  • Best Anthropomorphic Published Illustration
  • Best Anthropomorphic Game
  • Best Anthropomorphic Website
  • Best Anthropomorphic Costume (Fursuit)

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Try these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for news or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

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

Mon 31 Jan 2022 - 10:00

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 who likes furries, although it’s complicated.

How the media gave us the shitty end of the stick — and wacky radio personalities.

Furries are loveable misfits born from 1970’s underground comix, nurtured by 1980’s nerd conventions, full-fledged before the web, and they secretly run Silicon Valley. Those are deep roots beneath the costume look. Inside the fandom, their default lore is full of grievance about sensationalizing from around the turn of the century. Vanity Fair, MTV Sex2K, and CSI were the villains. The problem with blaming them is overcompensation and ingroup pressure.

I think furries do plenty of their own exploitation with Rule 34, and it’s OK to laugh about. Bad news was a phase, not a box to hide in. A dose of media literacy can help sort PBS from the National Enquirer. Someone should track how the fandom and mainstream have a dance, not a war. You can even Be The Media.

A cake made with tootsie rolls. Yum!

The first time I heard the “litter box” myth, I wasn’t offended. I laughed shamelessly and used it to write satirical promotion for a furry orgy at a club in San Francisco. The party was real and you could get a ticket (like almost nowhere else in the world.) For the Wild Things party, I made a Cat Box Cake.

The inspiration came from a 2014 post on Anthrocon’s forum by one of the con’s original founders:

Litterboxes: This one’s the bonafide urban legend, first circulated around 2007 when the Brewers baseball team and Bob Uecker shared one of our hotels.  Their subsequent sports broadcast ridiculing furries with manufactured tales of litterboxes and such was widely heard.  To this day, comments to articles about furries have often included one or more individuals making the litterbox claim, insisting eyewitness veracity.  It’s proven to stick with the same tenacity of CSI and Vanity Fair.  The inclusion of this in the respective comment thus throws every prior claim into question as well.

When I did another story about pro sports team mascots and fursuits, I found the exact Brewers baseball broadcast with Bob Uecker, from 2007. It’s a hoot! Here’s some of Bob’s snappy stories he told to all the sports fans, that he pretended were proved by hotel staff:

  • “These people dress as animals, and come together for a convention. What do they do? Gather in a huge furball. You can’t really see the leader, he’s in the middle. You can hear him mumbling and talking, trying to talk… Kind of like a mom with a cubby, trying to keep him warm. There were a couple of suffocations last year. Revived, I might add, by personnel at the hotel. They told us that this morning…”
  • “The Pennsylvania Animal Society are there to make sure none of the members are infected with anything, licenses are being issued”
  • “Two of the members were in front of the bus, they didn’t get out of the driveway in time… boom-boom, roadkill”
  • “They’re having a furball, with a dinner, catered by Purina”

I think it’s good humor. Bob Uecker’s co-broadcaster Jim Powell made a blog post too, and it has the much meaner judging that pitted the media against the fandom. A Hair-Raising Time In Pittsburgh: “Having the Furry convention at our hotel in Pittsburgh was quite disturbing, to be honest.” It joined a spate of “sports teams share hotels with furries” stories from that time. They juxtaposed weird vs. accepted fandom with the Brewers, the Sabres, the Yankees, the Mets

But those don’t mention litter boxes. Maybe the Anthrocon forum post mixed up Bob Uecker with another Bob. He’s the guy in the Anthrocon photo above, and source of the oldest example I could find, from a 2008 blog post titled “Frickin’ Weirdos”. Big Bob from Pittsburgh’s Morning Freak Show on 96.1:

14 years later, hearts change, and Bob is still on the radio. He covered the 2022 litter box story (at 18:40, 5 min). It criticizes “unhinged” rumor spreading and stands for fans: “Every year when we do a charity for Toys For Tots, we have a furry night when a bunch of furries come out, we have Anthrocon in Pittsburgh which is one of the bigger conventions… we absolutely love furries!” He also said Pittsburgh’s best-kept secret is Anthrocon: “It’s just a little taste of the magic of our city.”

Fandom origins for the urban legend.

The mists of time may hold more inside sources, complicating the attribution. Bob Uecker and Jim Powell did enough research to link alt.lifestyle.furry, the Usenet discussion group formed in 1996. I asked a contact familiar with 90’s fandom about it:

I would say that the litterbox and identifying as a cat stuff are all very old (like late 90s old) otherkin jokes brought into today’s hyper-fucked extremely online crapworld. Like, people were talking about bringing litterboxes along with them to cons or something on usenet, and it was so long ago I can’t remember how many layers of irony and/or hearsay that stuff had on it, but I doubt anyone actually did anything like that, it really sounded like people were just joking.

I wish I could narrow down when those posts might have been made and where, probably alt.lifestyle.furry or one of the many alt.fan.furry threads about lifestylers. But there’s no comprehensive, usable usenet archive available to the public as far as I know and I’ve always suspected that there are some rather seedy reasons for that (the possibility of old posts from virtually every politician and tech CEO under 50 for one).

Background of 1990’s Culture War.

The 1990’s fandom was part of culture war long before Vanity Fair, MTV, or the Bobs came calling.

The war rose out of 1980’s Reagan era policies and Moral Majority “family values” conservatism against social change. Activists clashed with official homophobia during the AIDS crisis. Now families had both parents out to work and latchkey kids home alone. That pushed Stranger Danger, high profile “ritual abuse” hoaxes, and Satanic Panic. Heavy metal and Dungeons & Dragons were scapegoats. Obscenity trials targeted sexy rap music by 2 Live Crew and speech by N.W.A. and the Dead Kennedys. Comics faced censorship. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund was founded from a first amendment battle with furry comic Omaha the Cat Dancer.

The war came to furry cons. (Dogpatch Press): A 1990’s fax to troll Confurence shows how long there’s been culture war with furry fandom. A parent sent complaints to the hotel about adult art dealers. The war came from outside fandom — and inside — with Burned Furs moralizing that flamed out in 1998-2001. Do you get a feeling of deja vu?

The new moral panic: Not just bad media.

The media informs and debunks, and this isn’t just blaming them. Sometimes the fans start a joke themselves and take it over the top. The problem is when there’s an OtherPhobic agenda behind it all.

The 2022 panic in Michigan was not the first outbreak. I investigated one just a few weeks earlier in Minnesota.

A high school teacher was smeared by association with furry, and for poetry assigned in class. The hit piece shows no furry evidence, portrays “young students” at risk, and doesn’t mention it was advanced study for college credit. Right-wing parents got anti-gay activists involved (who supported “conversion therapy” that was banned for harming kids.) I saw a familiar bigoted therapist who attacks furries and lost his job. They roped in far-right politicians and blogs. When a local news source reported the story, it responsibly didn’t mention furry. I kept track…

Students get treated like victims when there's no crime because "think of the children". The attacks are mostly against LGBT expression, but recently furries got lumped in to one. I have more info on file about it, but won't go into details for now to avoid hype.

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) December 29, 2021

Stories like this abound. In Missouri, a school’s only black teacher was threatened for showing kids a book about a black astronaut. Ironically, treating students like victims hurts them by taking away curriculum — maybe they don’t want kids to learn about anything after the moon landing or civil rights? This isn’t a campaign to protect kids, it’s an attack on information and media. The escalation shows libraries are next.

More escalation and reaction.

Embarrassment about faking didn’t stop it, and the claims get even more absurd. (TexasMonthly) A Texas GOP Candidate’s New Claim: School Cafeteria Tables Are Being Lowered for “Furries”. A conservative parents activist lied about accommodating lunch “like a dog eats from a bowl”; and Idaho radio lied that furries are being excused from homework because of struggling with paws.

Back to the 2022 Michigan story. Reactions shred the loaded wording: (Midland Daily News) Andrew Mullin: Recent Midland ‘furry’ scare is transphobia in disguise. The word “agenda”, “misuse of the word “identify” and her mention of the gender-neutral bathroom, signifies that this concern is merely a thinly veiled Trojan horse to fear-monger over transgender students and efforts to be more inclusive.” — “The “agenda” of making kids feel included is not scary, or a joke.”

Facebook reaction to a right wing politician.

More furry takes.

Lux weighs in:

From the Texas cafeteria article, it looks like patient zero was someone’s granddaughter getting bullied by kids wearing those Kitty Ear headbands.

But then again you can also get Barbie dolls in fursuits… so who the hell even knows what’s moving in the other direction, right?

To our inside guy at Mattel: maybe pump the brakes. The conservatives are asking about how we poop.

Since furry is something people “choose”, it’s safe to make us the butt of a joke. They can use furry panic as a dog whistle for just about any oppressed minority but brush it off and laugh. It feels like a stand-in for some kind of amorphous and frightening other. You can fabricate weird stories about funny animal people because you can’t do it openly about other groups. But weird xenophobic hate has to be metastasized into something. So the fandom has become a gutter in which conservative people can take massive steamy frightened shits. God this sucks.

How does this coalesce into a single person who ends up standing in front of their school board and stringing a bunch of gobbledygook together?

There’s malfeasance at the top layers of conservatism, but you can’t really plan chaos like this. This gal just seemed to follow a path of “something different at my school connected with something I don’t understand ooga booga” and then stumbled blindly into a school board meeting while goofed up on Boomer drugs. It’s not a long shot that it’s a combination of blood pressure medication and Ambien while browsing social media that caused this. It’s like the butterfly effect only really really stupid.

Soatok adds:

This is a proxy attack because conservatives think being trans means “I can choose my identity, willy nilly, and change my answer 6 times a second and if you get it wrong I get to imprison you for hate speech”. They’re trying to stoke hatred among their constituents. “Look, schools are indoctrinating your kids in these weird alternative lifestyles and they’ll choose weirdness over Jesus and the American Flag if you let them.”

This isn’t even coherent propaganda, they’re just throwing shit at the wall and seeing if it sticks. If not, they iterate onto something else. My conclusion is that hate and paranoia are the most impersonal things in the world.

Fear-mongering furry rumours started 20 years ago on Somethingawful and 4chan, now many internet bullies have trad-wives and red Maga hats, of course they’re gonna bring that energy to parent-teacher night. 20 year old cringe rumors are now entering the realm of pearl clutching parents as they dogwhistle about trans and queer kids existing.

Me:

Furry involves recasting Otherness to make it yours and make it fun. People who attack that are joykillers.

The fixation on bathrooms, and lies about eating like dogs in the cafeteria, shows how they’re imagining their kids. It’s failure to understand how kids think or what they care about. They’re reducing them to feeding and pooping. They’re the ones animalizing their kids! Like property at a zoo.

It’s about control when they target places kids have a little privacy, like lunch or bathroom breaks. It’s about fear too, to treat other people’s kids as so different they’re the wrong species. It’s othering on the most knee jerk level. They made a Human Centipede of credulous people, retrograde Anita Bryant style hatemongers, craven politicians, and mainstream media called to mop up the mess.

Joykillers and worse: the real cancel culture.

It goes from hobbies to teachers fired and books banned. But kids are having banned book clubs, and there’s a crowdfund to get support for a defunded library.

https://t.co/gIwpNhWwl8

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) January 27, 2022

And these people have the nerve to talk about cancel culture.

— Under Deconstruction (@ingvar_arni) January 26, 2022

New cartoon: An American book ban… #Maus pic.twitter.com/QEWzxn7YT1

— Andy Marlette (@AndyMarlette) January 28, 2022

"First, club members discussed George Orwell’s “Animal Farm.”

“A classic piece that has been banned or challenged many times in American schools and libraries,” Jordan said."
https://t.co/GLRvZXwuxX

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) January 27, 2022

The mayor of Ridgeland, MS is threatening to withhold funds from a public library if they don't comply with a demand to purge the shelves of LGBTQ+ books.https://t.co/BrqMhBSHSJ

— Soatok Dreamseeker (x64) (@SoatokDhole) January 27, 2022

The rare times we made the New York Times.

There you have a chain from absurd jokes to culture war.

In this wild cultural moment, I dug up the few occasions furries were ever mentioned in the New York Times. In 2013 an online blog had Pirates fans and furries at Anthrocon (another clash of the weird and the accepted sports fandoms). And then we have to go all the way back to 1996. I looked up the featured fan, and he’s still around and as furry as ever. We’re here, get used to it.

NY Times magazine, October 27, 1996 (page 352)

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Try these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for news or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

Smells like a furry con: HUFFaromas creates erotic fragrances like Werewolf Balls

Mon 24 Jan 2022 - 10:01

We don’t do ads at Dogpatch Press. This site isn’t here to grow an audience or even monetized, besides a Patreon tip jar where lovely patrons cover meager costs. (I call it beer money that keeps me writing.) Today, I’m writing just for fun to share the WTF moment I got from an entrepeneurial vision with a whiff of genius.

Furry is a tactile word. Fursuits have the message, “Hug Me”. It’s in the DNA of a fandom, where visual art manifests our fantasy selves. There’s writing and music, but art that evokes touch is a backbone of it all. It’s a world where one of the senses is rarely up front… until now.

Wet dog smell: Now you can get that in a bottle, adorned with uncensored erotica to enhance the tingle. Furry Musk-style scents are the most unusual olfactory products I’ve ever seen. HUFFaromas creates them to delight you, like Bad Dragon for your nostrils.

New scent alert! There's a certain dingodile who's been working hard in the swamp. Surely there's someone who can give him a good tongue bath? Try our Dingodelicious Ass here 😉 https://t.co/30txki0C5f

— HUFFaromas (@HUFFaromas) January 17, 2022

HUFFaromas on Etsy followed a wildly successful Kickstarter for scents like Boar Pits, Sloppy Foxy, and Werewolf Balls. They’ve recently branched out with candles.

Why is this news? … Just… Why? 

Sign at an anime con.

“Musky Husky” is a running joke in the fandom. The famed “6-2-1 rule” for conventions means 6 hours sleep, 2 meals, and 1 shower a day. Many mock-shock tales have been told about the offending con-goer who clears the crowd after failing to heed the rule. Stories about nerd con funk have made mainstream news and huge views. Yes, it’s nasty to blast people on purpose; but there’s also good humor about gross-outs that don’t kill you. So, fart jokes are funny and skunks make cute cartoons.

Remember, as weird, gross, and silly as this gets, it’s by no means just a fandom thing. Japan has vending machines for used underwear. Even “normies” include lovers of the fetid, fusty, malodorous, musty, noisome, putrid, and rank. Different strokes for different folks; as a mental quirk it’s like appetites for tastes like gamey meat, funky fungus or stinky cheese. And to stay on point, most of them probably aren’t into hygiene disasters as much as they savor the outcome of a healthy workout.

Furries creating synthesized scents should be no threat to anyone’s normalcy. As long as they aren’t fuming you up in a closed elevator while you wilt, turn green and put clothespins on your nose. Please don’t use these instead of showering.

I reached out to HUFFaromas to ask how they came up with this. Howl, the proprietor, sent 1000 words you really needed to know. (Maybe one sniff is worth that much.)

Q&A with Howl (also known as the founder of Thurston Howl Publications.)

(Patch:) Can you tell me how you came up with this… was there a moment that made you say, this needs to be a thing?

Well, actually it was working on the book Sensory De-Tails for Thurston Howl Bound Tales publishing. That book had an interactive component: there were recipes to go along with the taste stories, faux furs to go along with the touch ones, and even perfumes for the smell stories! So I talked with the creator of those perfumes and decided I would try my own hand at it. I was a big musk enthusiast myself and knew a lot of other musk furs. Thought it would be a good project to play around with!

How easy was it to get going… are there challenges for creating unusual perfumes?

It was actually surprisingly easy to get started. I picked up the craft really fast. I’ve always been a fast learner when it comes to self-teaching. I found an amazing artist to help launch the project’s first Kickstarter with, Yagi, and we had a fanbase before 24 hours were over in the Kickstarter. As for challenges, absolutely!

It’s funny to market things that are musky… it reminds me of Jelly Bellies selling gross jelly beans (with flavors like Booger and Stinky Socks). Can you talk about the art of creating scents?

First, scents of any kind are…a fantasy when it comes to my business. If you go to Wal-mart or Kroger, there are candles that promise you Night Air, Beach Stroll, and Winter Woods. But like…you can’t smell night-time. You can’t identify salt by smell. And snow also doesn’t have a scent! All of these businesses aren’t misleading people though; it’s just that they combine scents they personally associate with those feelings and images and manage to package them together in one unifying experience. That’s a lot of what we do!

So, no, I haven’t bottled an actual person’s sweat and turned that into an essential oil. I have not boiled semen to get the perfect aroma. I’ve just found scents in the essential oil world that I find comparable, and for a lot of people, the fantasy works beautifully! For some, ironically, usually the sharper-scenting people, the perfumes have very distinct ingredients they can identify, and the illusion is broken for them. I’ve had opposite critiques for the same perfume: “This is too subtle; it’s not like real musk at all” and “Wow, this is too strong. I can’t imagine ever using this.” One of those different folx, different strokes things maybe. But at any rate, people in general are loving the scents, and the responses have been overwhelmingly positive. But still those rarer cases are still a tough challenge to navigate.

Another challenge has definitely become materials actually. We get a lot of our basic packing materials and supplies from Amazon and Etsy. And like…spray bottles you can buy in bulk affordably always seem to have negative reviews about leakage. And sure enough, our most negative reviews have been about leakage. But unless we find an industry-grade sealer for bottles or buy some absurdly expensive bottles and jack our prices up like crazy, I’m not sure we will ever fully get rid of the problem; just alleviate it a little bit.

Have you had any weird accidents or things you wouldn’t sell?

It’s been crazy trying to envision how to make some scents a reality. At this point, I’ve fine-tuned the difference between a cum smell and an ass smell, and armpits versus under-balls. It’s been fun and funny! Any weird accidents or things I wouldn’t sell? Not really. I’d say one of our starting models has been one of the toughest, Boar Pits. I’ve modified that damn thing three or four times at this point, and it’s still the most mixed-review of the scents. There are some overall favorites, like Daddy Steel’s Jockstrap, Jino’s Jockstrap, Koopa Fireballs, and the new Dingodelicious Ass.

What’s it like behind the scenes… who are the team, and is it being successful?

Behind the scenes, not too much interesting happening! I’m the marketing person and creator of the scent recipes. I make each individual order. My husband, Weasel, handles all the packaging and shipping. Yagi and Negy are our main artists currently, and they’re doing phenomenally. What’s surprised me most has been the steady fucking sales on this. I never would have expected us to get almost daily sales and have two very successful Kickstarters under our belt. Never would have expected it. You know me, Patch. I was doing publishing for years. Got a book sale every other day or so maybe, and that was with having over fifty books in the catalog. But I launch HUFF with three starting scents, and everyone wants a bottle. It’s night and day in comparison. At first, I actually took is as a bit discouraging: as if I was that much of a failure as a publisher. But the support and praise HUFF has gotten has just been so uplifting and encouraging that I couldn’t imagine not doing it at this point.

Have you had any weird reactions?

Weird reactions? Absolutely! As I said, your mileage may vary. Some people smell the oddest things when they get a HUFF scent. Generally, people say we got it on the nose (pun intended), but we’ve had people say that a scent that smells like someone’s ass smelled too floral, and I used zero floral essential oils for that. It’s not that they’re crazy for that! It’s just that there’s sometimes no predicting what a person will think they smell. The art and branding helps guide what a person thinks they smell, but that can only go so far!

How would you attempt to explain this to a normie if they ask about it?

I have explained this to a few normies actually. The way I start is by explaining that some people really like and are attracted to certain smells. Especially in the furry fandom, where an alternate “fursona” is part of your worldview, engaging an extra sense can help with that too. Get a HUFF your-character-here commission, and you can SMELL like your fursona. Or if you wish your boyfriend’s balls smelled a bit more like wet dog, get our Werewolf Balls scent. Or if you want to be clean but still have a musky deodorant, try our Boar Pits. Or if you just wish you could have the Daddy Steel’s underwear in your face at night, just spritz some of his scent on a clean pair of underwear, and you’re good. These scents do a lot of different things for different people.

Are you aware of any comparable things for sale… does this exist in the non-furry world?

Eh, I’ve seen some….themed perfumes out there yeah, and they’re similar to us in terms of composition: essential oil blends. But I haven’t come across a musk-focused company, no, even outside the fandom.

Should users be worried about getting chased by packs of coyotes if they wear this outside?

I mean….if you’re using our Sloppy Foxy scent in a place where coyotes could smell it, hopefully you’re wanting to be chased by packs of them 😉

Am I missing anything else to ask about?

We have had murrsuiters send in sweaty underwear for R&D on their scents 😛 And we just launched candles!

Okay, here we go. Not a fan of our usual perfume oil sprays? Well here's your chance to really light up your sex life! Now launching our musk candles! All with our usual scents~ https://t.co/ZZEHwIiqex pic.twitter.com/kw75acddTS

— HUFFaromas (@HUFFaromas) January 20, 2022

Thanks to Howl for helping make a spicy story. Smell ya later!

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Try these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for news or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

The dedicated watchdog: Moxxey reports online animal abuse (Part 3).

Wed 18 Aug 2021 - 10:00

CONTENT WARNING – Part (1) A Killer – (2) A Trend – (3) A Watchdog

The frustration is palpable. Moxxey publishes stories of atrocious behavior to animals, but how can it be stopped when huge websites have channels full of it?

Moxxey runs Rodent Club on Livejournal. Livejournal isn’t active like it was years ago, but citizen reporting can start anywhere, and reaching out from there is a good idea for an activist with a purpose. (I think he should also join the Trusted Flaggers in Part (2). And keep sharing cute pet stories for more notice!)

Moxxey returns comments about Part 1-2:

“This is a good start to helping expose and explain the problem that these social platforms are giving to animal cruelty perpetrators, and what needs to be done to fix this. A bit more needs to be said about small animal cruelty regarding hamsters, guinea pigs, rats, mice, rabbits, baby birds, etc. Too often they’re not protected under cruelty laws or seen as not important because they are small creatures.

The Reptile Channel is just one of these horrific channels creating “live feeding” videos under the guise of education. It’s really cruel entertainment for a profit and a very twisted audience. No matter what you try to do to report it on the AI reporting systems for Youtube, TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, etc., nothing ever gets done to remove the videos.

Even with an AI system, there’s no excuse for not having proper options to signify that when there’s animal cruelty — it’s time to get a human moderator involved! Facebook seems to have one of the worst reporting systems, which never give the proper option boxes to check, nor an explanation of what’s going on. They almost always respond, “Sorry we did not find the selected post to go against our community guidelines”. 🙁

What is needed is more news coverage by video, news pages and TV to let the public know what’s secretly going on with animal cruelty online.”

Rat tickling for science on Rodent Club. “The study offered new insight into play behavior, and how it is an important evolutionary trait among mammals.”

(Q&A): The Reptile Channel was my introduction to such themed channels for cruelty entertainment. What are some more examples?

From what I can see, there are at least 50 – 100 channels on Youtube using live feeding as an excuse for cruelty entertainment. My blog has reports on channels such as Reese Pythons, Raas Reptiles, Reptar’s Rampage, Golden Squad Feedings and more.

Golden Squad made a mock “Furs vs Scalies” basketball game video where he put live mice on a toy basketball hoop for his tegus to snatch up and kill. This monster and his audience thought it was funny, making a twisted Space Jam mockery with the suffering of real animals. He has teamed up with the Snake Meal cruelty channel to collab their efforts and get more viewers.

Is this still a problem when it’s necessary to feed personal pets?

Having worked in animal rescue for many years, I can say that the live feeding is unnecessary! Even the pickiest of predators can be trained to eat pre-killed food, but most owners are either too lazy to learn how, don’t care, or enjoy the cruelty. Many overfeed or feed at the wrong time. Some prey can injure or kill. Owners make poor choices, then scramble to give pets away.

There’s a lot of bad stuff on the net and it’s hard to track it all. How do you try to get companies to act? 

I’ve been busy reporting and screencapping the horrible videos, trying to contact Google execs and Susan Wojcicki the CEO of Youtube. I’ve written to people in US Congress and the Senate who are against animal cruelty, trying to get laws changed and ban live feeding. I’ve shared my petition against live feeding with all the governors in the USA and premiers in Canada.

Petition comment

I tried messaging Amazon about Raas Reptiles offering Amazon gift cards to people who post the funniest captions about the cruelty. I had thought this might trigger Amazon and put pressure on Youtube, because it puts them in a bad light, seeing their gift cards being rewards for it. They didn’t answer. I’ve tried reporting Paypal accounts: no answer. When my rescue friends and I reported Reptar’s Rampage (Ryan Ploof) as a fundraising violation to GoFundMe, they replied it was not in violation when we point out the cruelty it creates.

I have started screencapping commercial ads on Youtube playing during animal cruelty and sending them to advertisers to let them know their ads are part of funding this. Many companies have replied, saying that they don’t want to be associated and will contact Youtube about it. Hopefully this will have an effect, along with a petition and news story in The Guardian.

The Guardian: YouTube must remove videos of animal cruelty, says charity

“Getting the video-sharing platforms to remove the videos — or even provide a response — has proven frustratingly difficult. That’s why numerous animal welfare groups have banded together to form the Social Media Animal Cruelty Coalition (SMACC) and bring an entire movement to the companies’ proverbial doorsteps.” – Press release on Ladyfreethinker.org

The SMACC website has resources like a category breakdown and volunteer submission area.

What do they act on?

Youtube actually did something when I flagged a guy who made a mock Thanksgiving video where he chucked a live turkey in with his huge Boa Constrictor snake, and that was removed within hours of it being flagged.

But Youtube has pretty much left up videos of rabbits getting bashed with a metal pipe by an angry owner because they bit him when he held them wrong. There’s versus videos of fighting between pets and wild animals, birds of prey vs small mammals, cats and or dogs vs each other or versus mice, rats or birds. People target shoot wild animals just for fun. Youtube has not removed any of them, even when I had 50 rescue friends flag a video!

It’s disgusting how useless their flagging system actually is. But it spots background music or TV/movie videos uploaded to their site with the fastest of speed and efficiency. I think that Youtube doesn’t care about cruelty or even human suffering like vehicle accident or brawl/fight videos which trolls edit and upload many different times in different variations.

I would think companies should be first to act on their own content. But I was told of a case where YouTube was so slow with escalation replies that after 4 months, an animal owner was arrested before they even read the email!  Can you say more about how much the system doesn’t help with?

In the past they’ve removed robot battle videos thinking they were animal abuse. As far as how many animal abuse channels there are, if there are lets say 100 small animal live feeding cruelty channels, then there are about twice or three times for sport hunting of the wildies, and I would say 500-1000 for cats, dogs, birds, monkeys and any other large animal you can imagine. We’ve got to be talking minimum 2000 cruelty channels, but from seeing all the recommended videos pop up it’s more likely to guess ten thousand plus.

Youtube’s system will automatically recommend these for families and kids, when all they want to watch are cute pets or wildlife frolicking in the yard or forest. Some Youtubers label their videos as pet videos, which sneaks them past Youtube reporting and they also want to gain more views by shocking the pet fandoms.

Data could make better cases. Do you know about average views or income for these channels?

For viewership, older well established channels sometimes have 10-25K views per video, while smaller/newer ones may average 100-200 views; probably about 1/3 are well established. For money Youtube pays out per channel, one analysis said that a Youtuber can make $3-$5 per 1000 views and that Youtube will pay out when $100 worth of views are reached, so that means a 20K video will pay out (or the sum of a bunch of videos together.) I have also seen quite a few advertise and link to TeeSpring, selling shirts with their logos.

It makes me wonder about requesting screening to approve animal channels (like from a vet, a school showing real education value, or animal welfare org).

Trying to put the word out to stop the cruelty is good enough. What we need is a way to inform people in charge, and if that doesn’t work, as many on-line media outlets, newspapers or news channels as possible.

MOXXEY’S LIST: YOUTUBE’S ANIMAL CRUELTY HALL OF SHAME

I have compiled a list of cruelty channels that I have come across and reported on so far. Many more were recommended by Youtube.

  • ojatro (1.17M)
  • Joseph Carter the Mink Man (1.18M)
  • Reptile Channel (530K)
  • DesertWolfArmory (201K)
  • Gatorpool Gators (78.5K)
  • Venom Wonderful (53.5K)
  • Reptars Rampage (45.9K)
  • ヘビのお食事ch Snake Meal Channel (15.5K)
  • Karl Jones (15.1K)
  • Reptile Feedings (14.7K)
  • Cali Varanus (12.7K)
  • Reeses Pythons (7.7K)
  • Raas Reptiles (6.18K)
  • venomman93 (4.04K)
  • Golden Squad feedings (2.86K)
  • Tyler Waskosky (2.8K)
  • Wild Charles (No subs listed, most viewed video is 3.5M)
  • Mouse Trap (No subs listed, most viewed video is 2.5M)

At time of posting, Moxxey’s most recent find is yet another cruelty channel that Youtube won’t remove: Irondogg Reptiles. It’s full of videos of feeding baby rats to frogs. The About page ironically denounces “hate” and “negativity”… do they protest too much?

A REAL POSITIVE CLOSING:

Part (2) shares National Geographic: How fake animal rescue videos have become a new frontier for animal abuse. Moxxey tells me that the activist organization Lady Freethinker has the support of National Geographic, who will be doing a TV episode to expose Youtube animal cruelty.

More news articles:

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Try these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for news or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

The Zoosadism Channel: A look at a trend of animal abuse on social media (Part 2).

Tue 17 Aug 2021 - 10:00

CONTENT WARNING – Part (1) A Killer – (2) A Trend – (3) A Watchdog

Huge platforms are letting it happen. It’s under their noses, according to this June 2021 report. National Geographic: How fake animal rescue videos have become a new frontier for animal abuse.

That’s disturbing at wide scale, because of how social media attention meets psychological escalation. Part (1) looked into the Omegle Cat Killer, where an investigator said: “Animal abusers have total power over that animal and, if someone is willing to be that cruel to an animal, evidence suggests they may target vulnerable humans as well,” said Special Agent in Charge Paul Keenan, FBI Indianapolis.” — Kokomo Tribune

Despite such a warning about the extremes, it seems like the odds are against justice. A standout example among furries was Kero the Wolf, a popular Youtuber exposed in a zoosadist crime ring. The evidence led to arrests, but child abuse was the focus and most members got away with it. Kero’s attempts to gaslight the public about his innocence made him The O.J. Simpson of furries. His presence highlights a gap in the laws.

This part covers the exploitation on social media, and Part (3) will feature someone working to bridge the gap.

A content pool with no lifeguard

In 1940, protest rose up about a horse tumbling over a cliff in a Western movie. It triggered regulation for the industry to stop using animals like disposable props. Now Hollywood movies get American Humane certification by following a 132-page guide. But tech platforms aren’t so regulated.

The internet gives unprecedented reach, and lets out the best and worst behavior on an infinitely granular level. (Washington Post: The country is being buffeted by groups that couldn’t exist 30 years ago.My favorite example for demonstrating the power of the Internet to form ad hoc groups is furries…”) Platforms are automated and let users regulate themselves from private locations. That’s how animal abusers connect with each other like never before, and fly past local laws. “They’re accused of abusing their pets in viral videos. But laws don’t always consider it cruelty.” And: “YouTube Won’t Ban A Guy Who Crushes Animals to Death.”

Of course, animals can’t speak for self-regulation, and nobody’s watching when the cameras stop. People who control their welfare are enjoying a form of cruelty theater, like dogfighting, but tailored to individual proclivities to maximize reach. Some watch for the fake cuddly feeling of watching an animal get “saved” from busy highways or burial in mud. Some are chasing special fetish content.

In 2017, The Reptile Channel on Youtube rose out of furry “vore” fetish groups. It uses a false front about live-feeding animals for science, but it’s not for science, and it’s hiding in plain sight. In 2021, despite protest and the ban of a previous channel under the concealed owner, the channel is still growing with over a half million subscribers. (The most popular video has 33 million views!) The “educational” front is a flimsy excuse to artificially pit animals against other animals, and force-feed them after neglect or starvation to keep them hungry.

Youtube’s algorithm is hungry for the views. But when I originally tried to flag the Reptile Channel for policy violations, I couldn’t even find a category for it. Compare that with the difficulty of removing an even more obvious channel. A 17 year old Youtuber (labeled Peluchin Entertainment) beat cats to death for attention — raising widespread protest and even inspiring copycats — but it took months to take the channel down.

The cost of exploitation

Exploiting this system is easy, and it’s a systemic flaw. It’s the same gap exploited by fake news hoaxes, trolling and harassment, and messing with elections. The gap makes rising fascism and social destabilization, and the extreme result can be genocide. While we look at “just animals,” the stakes are more than we know.

Content flows through this gap like the industrial waste of Big Tech. The public pays for the damage while private owners profit. The business is built on cutting corners because “progress” means replacing human moderation with algorithms. Less views = lower stock prices, so we’re always underpowered to match the scale. Free speech idealists can debate in the marketplace of ideas, but animal victims can’t, and what’s the point in arguing about cruelty if cruelty is the point?

CW//TW: Animal Abuse, Animal Death, Animal Blood/Gore

WE NEED TO HAVE A SERIOUS CONVERSATION ABOUT @YouTube FAKE ANIMAL RESCUE RING CHANNELS.

These channels are full of animal abuse, death, and FAKE rescues.

Let's take a deep dive.

— hot cross sun bun (@sunnydancer_fur) October 26, 2020

Three painstaking videos diving into fake animal rescues. Hundred of hours of depressing and tedious research. Watching video after video of brutal animal abuse. And in the end the only channel to receive any form of punishment was mine. I feel sick

— Nick Crowley (@NickCrowleyYT) October 28, 2020

It’s time to finally address this problem @TeamYouTube … because things are only getting worse from here. https://t.co/4ngUsf0nb6

— Nick Crowley (@NickCrowleyYT) October 26, 2020

Federal regulation and Trusted Flaggers

Big Tech vs Big Government is a bigger story than we can cover here, but we can look at some developments.

In late 2019 in the U.S., a new law, the PACT Act, made animal cruelty a federal crime for the first time. It lets agencies work across jurisdictions. I found interesting info about it in a podcast about investigating animal crime.

Crimes Against Nature’s episode “The Killing Fields” talked to experts about unsolved horse killings in 3 states.

(At 15:20): “These law agencies are doing what they can with the resources they have to bring these criminals to justice. They’re working with sister agencies and sharing info across county lines, but no info has been shared state to state. With crime in multiple states, would a federal agency like the FBI get involved?

The podcaster consulted the FBI in Dallas:

“Beginning in 2016, the FBI began collecting data on crimes against animals. Acts of cruelty, according to their website, are now counted alongside felony crimes like arson, burglary, assault, and homicide in the FBI’s National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS).

By adding animal cruelty offenses, agencies and advocacy groups are hoping the results will reveal a more complete picture of the nature of cruelty against animals. The National Sheriff’s Association was a leading advocate for adding animal cruelty in the dataset. For years they had cited studies linking animal abuse with other types of crimes, most famously serial killings. They point out overlap with domestic violence and child abuse.”

To my understanding, it’s rare and challenging to make a case they’ll pursue. But down on the community level, investigators and watchdogs can work with allies you might not know of: Trusted Flaggers. They are volunteers including “individuals, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs)“. The role goes to users chosen for high accuracy with pointing out YouTube violations, who get a back door to get them reviewed.

One such ally was key for catching the Omegle Cat Killer. This starts to address a need that came up in a furry news interview with criminologist Jenny Edwards, who consults with the legal system about animal crime. Her advice for when a community like furries finds abuse within:

“There needs to be a conduit – not necessarily me, but someone like me – who can put a case together and get it into the right hands.”

American Humane says if you see cruelty online, the first step is reporting to ic3.gov. For next steps, read Part (3).

  • NEXT: A WATCHDOG SHARES WORK IN FIGHTING ANIMAL CRUELTY.

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Try these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for news or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

The Omegle Cat Killer: A true crime tale of stopping online animal abuse (Part 1)

Mon 16 Aug 2021 - 10:00

CONTENT WARNING for animal abuse – Part (1) A Killer – (2) A Trend – (3) A Watchdog

He had to be stopped. Someone was killing cats and posting the videos online. Internet sleuths were hunting a killer who reveled in taunting them. In December 2019, their story came out on Netflix as Don’t F*ck With Cats. It was one of the year’s most-watched documentaries.

As hard as they tried, identifying the killer wasn’t enough. They felt helpless until he escalated to killing a human victim and mailing the body parts to terror targets. Finally the authorities noticed, and Canadian man Luka Magnotta was caught and convicted. The story suggests that taking animal cruelty seriously could have saved a person, and it showed a trend for attention: “Murderers have become online broadcasters. And their audience is us.

Months after the show, the same trend terrorized the furry fandom and made a new case for the FBI.

More than a copycat

In May 2020, the new Covid-19 situation was turning the world upside down. Stuck in quarantine, furry fans found a way to lift their spirits. They joined a regular event on the Omegle video chat service, using hashtags to meet fellow fans by random connection.

They weren’t expecting to connect to a woman in an animal-skin mask, gripping a bloody skull a little bigger than an egg. It almost looked fake, until she used a finger to pop out an eyeball like a grape.

Whoever was doing this wasn’t just shocking random targets. She knew about the event and targeted them with hashtags like #furries, #fursuit and #furryfandom. It made a trail with sightings of gory animal parts and links to Instagram and Tiktok. It was hard to document live incidents, but alarm spread and reached millions of viewers on Youtube. She got attention she wanted, but where did she come from?

The hype never told the full story. It passed like a blip and Youtubers and blogs quickly forgot. We’ll get to what happened in 2021 — but first, she didn’t just start in 2020 without warning. A path was laid much earlier.

Witnesses say the "Crazy Cat Lady on Omegle" is burning and skinning cats alive. I haven't seen fandom connection besides hashtags to gain attention, and some furries trying to gather evidence, but there's a lot of talk about trying to ID and stop her. https://t.co/4ZmEHnCz0V

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) May 3, 2020

Cautious attention after SomeOrdinaryGamers showed 2 million subscribers.

The path of escalation

As early as March 2019, furries were first to spread bewares about the trouble among them. At first it was just about art scams and harassment, but bewares couldn’t stop a trajectory to worse. A comment in November 2019 mentioned animal abuse.

Thrill killing is hard to get away with, but people who do it may start with animals. Online animal abusers may feel safely out of reach. If they’re identified, it can take high effort to prove there was crime. Police don’t take it seriously while putting human victims first. Local dog-catchers don’t do stings and forensics. There might be rare lone convictions, but nasty networks for it stay hidden. There are long odds for getting caught, and that makes opportunity.

Furries saw this with popular Youtuber Kero the Wolf. In 2018 he was caught for abusing his dog in a crime ring for animal torture. It was past the time limit for charges and he got off on technicality. The community knows about him, but what can they do about escalation when investigation goes nowhere?

Facing the odds, hunters of the Omegle killer joined forces online to save the victims.

From a Google Doc made in May 2020.

Masks and confusion

I was tipped early about the hunt for the Omegle cat killer. It gave me access to sources. Volunteers narrowed sightings down to one suspect with furry accounts. But even with a name, was there courtworthy proof?

I watched her do a video tour of her house and deny responsibility. The skin mask and gory body parts got explained with a taxidermy hobby, using roadkill, gophers or natural deaths. It might involve interest in anatomy and science, or trolling for views with a financial motive. There might be plausible deniability. It wasn’t all clear.

What about claims that pets were adopted from ads, and the ex owners were taunted with death photos later? Or headless dog carcasses were found in a cornfield near the suspect’s house? Or sockpuppet accounts were taunting investigators? Denial games could hide evidence that only warrants could get.

Sources clammed up and couldn’t be verified. Police were involved, but then the story was called a prank or hoax. That didn’t satisfy. Charges or not, it still traumatized thousands of watchers, wasted resources and hurt the community. The Furry Omegle event was canceled. I wrote a story, but many sources were pulled down and a lawyer involved agreed I should hold my story to reduce hype. It seemed to fizzle out, but there HAD to be more to it…

After weeks of silence, the FBI announced federal charges for Krystal Cherika Scott, a 19 year old in Indiana.

Here's the FBI announcement that Krystal Scott faces 7 years in jail and more for creating animal "crush" videos. Commercial profit operations with that form of cruelty got it federally banned in 2010, so she caught some serious charges here.https://t.co/hEJMvIdEEH

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) August 31, 2020

These charges weren’t publicized much.

Sources: Local police dropped the ball

She had to be stopped, but Scott escalated her crime despite alarm. Investigators were frustrated about lack of help while persisting to start cases with multiple police agencies. Telling people to let local police handle it could have led nowhere.

This source stays off the radar, so I won’t name them:

“Kokomo [Indiana] police department had absolutely nothing to do with it and were useless throughout the entire process. They dismissed it as a hoax entirely. The only reason anything happened was because the FBI in a different state got involved when the police there found it was out of theirs.”

A source local to Scott said there was alarm on Facebook about animal abuse in the previous year, but it didn’t help. In May 2020 Scott got bold enough to start livestreaming abuse. The Kokomo Police went to her house and found dead animals, but they wouldn’t do more without kill videos.

(Left:) A local source and a Fox59 news story mentions inaction. (Right:) First anonymous source.

1500 miles away in Boise, Idaho, investigators were misled by Scott to believe the acts happened there. They opened a case with Boise police, who traced her Instagram account. That made a case for the FBI to go out of state and back to Indiana.

Fox59 News said Kokomo police found evidence on 5/3/20, and kept getting reports in June. Investigators say it was treated like a hoax by local police who didn’t know about the FBI or Boise PD action. Scott kept posting animal cruelty until July 8, when a federal warrant finally led to her arrest on 7/14/20.

“This case is an outstanding example of society’s intolerance to animal cruelty and the public’s willingness to do the right thing,” said Special Agent in Charge Paul Haertel of the FBI’s Salt Lake City Field Office. “Tips poured in from all over the world, assisting in an intense and technically complex investigation to find the alleged perpetrator and put a stop to the senseless and horrific abuse of innocent animals.” — FBI press release

“Intense and technically complex investigation” by 3 agencies shows how rare it is to solve such a case. Imagine working to do the right thing, but the abuse keeps going. Injustice is all too common. That’s why it’s so troubling to suffer the presence of abusers like Kero the Wolf.

UPDATE: In May 2021, Indiana news says Scott took a deal to plead guilty. She potentially faces up to seven years in prison, a $250,000 fine and years of supervised release afterward. Sentencing is set for September, according to court docs.

The link includes a witness report that police received in April 2020, that highlights the malice of the crimes and lack of fast action:

A neighbor told News 8 he found a decapitated dog in the area months before the raid.

“It had been decapitated. The belly was slit up and down,” Brian Foster said. “After I drove down the road and I came back, the head was in the road and it wasn’t there when I first drove by.”

Scott’s motive is weird to think about. What really set her off? There were clues about her being a troubled teen who started as a victim. Maybe it’s worth reporting to inform and try to get more justice, but the attention was part of the problem. She broadcasted animal abuse to enjoy the shock.

Meanwhile, Kero the Wolf tried to come back from fandom exile like nothing happened in his case. The motive for his secret abuse wasn’t to broadcast for attention. It was to enjoy the abuse itself. Hiding it with denial might make it worse than what put Scott in prison, raising the stakes to stop it.

Final points.

  • Scott started in furry fandom and used it for targets — it’s a community issue.
  • She escalated to sadism after causing money and trust issues with art scams, taxidermy and bone sales, and ads for pets.
  • Community bewares were the first warning, but it couldn’t be solved within. It took legal power that only came after escalation.
  • Solving it wasn’t just for outsiders, because local police didn’t stop it — it took cooperation inside and outside the fandom.
  • Social media attention met psychological escalation. (There were even copycats posing as Scott.)
  • It’s a trend including Kero the Wolf, where crime ring members got away and deny it.

How does this start, and how can a community respond to organize and improve? It could use professional helpers in between the fandom and police. New federal laws (like the PACT Act) can help in certain cases.

Read more about this in Part (2).

Adopting animals from Craigslist for cruelty happened in this case with horses, by a woman promising sanctuary but having them slaughtered for profit. https://t.co/6zKadFqUNQ

I learned of it via a friend who lost a horse. The fraud was solved with help from social media groups.

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) August 31, 2020

(Correction: Scott used Facebook ads.)

  • NEXT: MORE ABOUT A TREND OF ANIMAL ABUSE ONLINE.
  • THEN: A WATCHDOG SHARES WORK IN FIGHTING ANIMAL CRUELTY.

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Try these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for news or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

A Call for Preservation of Sources for Furry Fandom History

Fri 13 Aug 2021 - 10:00

Guest post by Gamepopper, an indie game maker and animation fan in the UK.

As a British furry who was interested in the history of the furry fandom, I couldn’t help but notice most of the subject was centred around the United States. This was the case in all the articles and convention panels I could find, and most blatantly in the book Furry Nation: The True Story of America’s Most Misunderstood Subculture by Joe Strike. This United States focus continues to this day with videos and documentaries such as The Fandom by Ash Coyote discussing the history of the fandom from the beginnings at science fiction and comic book conventions in California.

As a result, I took it upon myself in 2017 to look into my own country’s perspective of the fandom. This part-time hobby of mine culminated into a lecture at ConFuzzled 2019, The History of the Furry Fandom in the United Kingdom, which focused on the growth of the fandom from the earliest known gathering of twenty fans in 1987 to the present day conventions of over two thousand furries. I spoke about the housecons and fanzines in the nineties, furmeets and mailing lists in the noughties, and the British furry conventions and the difficulties getting them off the ground. I also allowed audience members to make comments and ask questions throughout, which you can listen to in the recorded version uploaded to YouTube.

Watching it in retrospect, I’m still proud of the amount of content in the work, in spite of a few factual errors and omissions that a few people have noted. On the day itself, it went over better than I ever anticipated, with a full room of attendees giving a huge round of applause at the end and many furries coming up to me to appraise my work. One of those people thought that the full history should be written down, and, given the amount of work I had already done, I felt up to the task.

Ever since the convention ended, I have been working on Furry Kingdom, a book about the history of the British furry fandom, discussing the earliest influences in art and storytelling, the numerous events and activities throughout the decades, and the many challenges the British fandom has faced. At the moment, I’ve finished what I want to write for the manuscript and I’m currently searching for a means to get it published.

This book allowed me to write what I wouldn’t have been able to say in the 2019 lecture due to time constraints and limited information at the time. During that period, my research had only scratched the surface, and I had few sources available. Fred Patten’s Chronology and Furry Fandom Conventions were great resources for establishing the base structure, which I then expanded upon using alt.fan.furry, UKFur Forums, various LiveJournals and contacting about a dozen furries from the early days.

Working on the book also meant refining my research methods to uncover every event and piece of noteworthy media in great detail, finding original fanzines and magazines, newspaper articles, documentaries, and contacting even more people to get the fullest picture that I can.

THE PROBLEM OF FINDING SOURCES

So how does one go about researching the history of the furry fandom? The short answer is that it involves a lot of reading and listening. Not just panels, documentaries, and wikis, but the written and spoken word from the events the days they were happening, to find out where the secondary sources got their information from as well as to find information that had previously not been recorded.

How do you go about finding these primary sources for the furry fandom? Well, there are a wide variety of avenues to finding them, but for the sake of brevity, I distinguish them into one of three categories:

  1. What is currently online: Almost every website pertaining to the furry fandom is a potential source when looking for documents. Any website used to inform and promote a furry convention or furmeet, or a post on a blog, forum, or board, reporting on such events are great sources of information, particularly as the internet has been pivotal for the fandom’s growth from the late-90s to the present.
  2. From people in the fandom: For my book as an example, I’ve contacted individuals who were involved in running conventions as well as furmeets in the past in order to find out what happened from their recollections and to compare with what was being discussed at the time.
  3. In archives: This could be from digital archives like archive.org and the Wayback Machine to physical archives like museums and libraries.

Sounds all straightforward, right? I wish it was. The hard truth is that even in the furry fandom, which has been organized heavily online for decades, whose passion in its own legacy is self-evident by the success of books and documentaries, not everything is as readily available as one might assume.

Physical materials (e.g., conbooks, fanzines, newsletters) are incredibly difficult to obtain due to the furry fandom’s limited and often independent publishing runs, and very few of them are preserved and digitised. The best method of ever getting a chance to read most of these is to contact private collectors, but even this is a challenge.

The History of Furry Publishing, Part One: Beginnings – by Fred Patten.

I’m fortunate enough that the plenty of people who I got in touch with for the project I’ve been working on have been approachable and willing to provide any help and information they can. That doesn’t mean everyone I wanted to talk to was either available to contact or willing to respond to a random furry with an interest in past furmeets, conventions, and artworks.

It’s also not just an issue finding sources within the fandom: for instance, I’ve made several visits to the British Library in order to look for newspaper and magazine articles. Imagine my surprise when, despite its extensive collection of manuscripts, microfilms, books, journals, and even issues of science fiction fandom magazines such as Starburst, I discover that not every issue is within their archives.

Even Fred Patten had difficulties researching for his book on Furry Fandom Conventions:

“…about half the 116 conventions never replied to my e-mails, or sent a brief reply that their purpose was to have fun, not to engage in bookkeeping, and they didn’t keep any records of their previous years.… You can tell in my book which conventions sent me information, and which didn’t.”

Yet the worst challenge, however, is filling the gaps in events where information is lost forever. Anything made of paper can get burned, torn, or damaged beyond repair, or even intentionally thrown away or shredded. Digital media can also be lost, despite the phrase “Once it’s on the internet, it’s there forever”. Forums go offline, websites end up going to Error 404, servers shut down and get dismantled, and although archival services like the Wayback machine exist, not every website has a snapshot to go back to.

For example, mailing lists were one of the ways furries communicated online, sending emails to entire groups through a central email server. Although predominantly text-based, some hosts made it possible to send photos and videos through mailing lists. As usenet was used less and less in the late nineties and before web forums became commonplace in the mid-noughties, mailing lists was an efficient method of communicating with fellow furries amongst particular groups, especially for British furries. Before 2006, there was not only a mailing list for UK furries as a whole, hosted by Critter.net, but also mailing lists for each region of the UK, where they discussed their fandom interests and arranged local gatherings that led to the traditional furmeets of today.

However, mailing lists have all but vanished from the internet. Most of the original mailing lists weren’t removed due to ill-intentions, but due to lack of interest from the time. Many such as the HantsFurs Mailing List were deleted by their owners simply because places like the UK Fur Forums had become more popular by the late-naughties.

There were some that were hosted entirely by the furry fandom itself that fell victim to a more dire fate: hardware failure. This was the case for Critter.net, which hosted several mailing lists, websites, and news servers, but which suffered a catastrophic failure in 2014. The act of two drives failing and data being inaccessible, as well as backups being impossible to decrypt, leads to a bleak result. “Everything. Every database, document, photo, website, email. Gone.” as Frysco, the owner of Critter.net, described the outcome.

Yet the greatest cause of loss came not from within the fandom, but from the companies that hosted it. Although there was eGroups before it, most furries used Yahoo Groups to set up mailing lists, since it was considered the largest host of discussion boards that provided the resources to set up a mailing list for free. Unfortunately, Yahoo’s parent company Verizon Media officially announced that they were discontinuing Yahoo Groups in October 2019.

What was worse, they weren’t going to preserve all the messages, images, and videos, shared on the service forever. In fact, users had until December to archive mailing lists by themselves before the data would be deleted (they would later extend it to January 2020). After that, the only evidence of a mailing list’s existence was an empty page, until early in 2021 when the Yahoo Groups pages were removed entirely.

It’s currently unknown how many furry mailing lists have been preserved or archived. In my efforts to rescue some, I only managed to collect four. Although there was an extensive grassroots effort to archive as much as possible from Yahoo Groups, it will take more than a lifetime for one person to find out if any furry mailing lists are amongst its collection.

WHY IT MATTERS

I know what some of you are thinking: so what?

It’s no lie that I’ve had these kinds of comments from friends when I complained about the loss of mailing lists.

“I don’t want messages I posted when I was a teenager to be online forever!”
“Some things are best left forgotten.”
“Who cares about an old mailing list?”

As someone who has been on the internet for nearly twenty years, I can empathise with the embarrassment at the thought of something I’ve written on the internet when I was a kid being available to be read decades later. That doesn’t change the fact that all posts and comments, even the irrelevant and cringeworthy, are worth preserving to reflect what the culture was like at that moment in time.

To analogise, historians all over the world generally accepts newspapers as a vital primary or secondary source of information for historical research. They generally accept so much that many libraries archive national and local newspapers, either as physical copies, digitized scans, or microfilm, for people to look through.

Chronicling America, part of the United States Library of Congress, is one of the largest archives of American Newspapers, with digitized collections dating back to the mid-eighteenth century. Not only can you read the headline news, but all the columns, small articles, adverts and comic strips too. And yes, it’s definitely possible to find stories that descendants would find embarrassing.

Yet every page is preserved and archived not only for the completion factor, but also because even these little stories can tell us about the culture of the country, state, county, town, and city.

Message boards and social media tell the same thing for the furry fandom: what jokes were being thrown around, what the big issues were, whether they be local or within the fandom as a whole. Even the few I managed to archive were incredibly resourceful for my research, helping me figure out the story of how the Northern Furs and MidFurs, two of the three largest furry regional groups in the past, formed and set the standard for furmeets for the rest of the United Kingdom.

1996-2015

WHAT SHOULD BE DONE AND HOW?

The one thing I want to advocate for is that we the furries have the responsibility to preserve the furry fandom’s work, whether it be its art, advertisements, even our discussions. That’s all well and good, but that’s why we need to discuss how we should go about doing that.

One way is to talk more about our history, either through writing articles, running panels, or producing documentaries: any way to tell interesting stories about what our fandom has gone through. They don’t need to be broad; stories could be told of individual conventions, activities, or even musicals.

Another way is to support archives and archivists, to motivate them to preserve more content so that people can read through and understand more about the furry fandom’s long legacy.

Lastly, for the online sort of thing, support the non-profit archive.org and try to make extensive use of saving web pages to the Wayback Machine. That way if a website ever goes down, when an article or a wiki page has a deadlink, there should be a chance that there is a cached or saved version on the archive.

There are many more possible avenues to archiving work, although for bigger places such as DropBox and Google Drive, use caution. No matter how big the company that runs the website is, it has no guarantee of keeping data on its servers forever.

WHO IS DOING IT?

Authors and Journalists

Of course, I’m writing Furry Kingdom, which focuses on the History of the furry fandom in the United Kingdom, and I’m certainly not the only one writing about furry history:

  • Joe Strike, who wrote Furry Nation, is currently working on a sequel titled Furry Planet, which aims to cover the furry fandom throughout the world.
  • Grubbs Grizzly, a columnist for Ask Papabear and organiser of the Good Furry Award is also working on his own book, titled The Furry Book.
  • Thurston Howl has been the publisher of several non-fiction anthologies called Furries Among Us.
  • Choco Pony is slowly working on a book on convention history, which not only include furry conventions, but science fiction, anime, and brony conventions as well.
  • As previously mentioned, Fred Patten did extensive chronicling of the furry fandom over the years, once in Retrospective: An Illustrated Chronology of Furry Fandom that was originally published in Yarf magazine back in 1996, as well as a book on Furry Fandom Conventions from 1989 to 2015.

Channels

  • It doesn’t have to be books, as Ash Coyote demonstrated with the feature-length documentary, The Fandom.
  • Culturally F’d have done numerous videos on the subject of the furry fandom, from conventions to fursuits.
  • Dox, a History BA graduate from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, wrote a thesis on the furry fandom’s history and culture and has done panels on his own YouTube channel for the online convention RAMCon.
  • It’s not just YouTube: users on Twitter can follow accounts that have been regularly posting classic furry art, such as the Ancient Furries and Vintage Funny Animals.

Collectors and Curators

  • Some conventions have archived content from past events, such as EuroFurence, ConFuzzled, and NordicFuzzcon.
  • Sylys Sable and Changa Husky have extensively uploaded several pieces of paperwork surrounding the early furry fandom, ConFurence, and Califur to the ConFurence Archive.
  • Summercat is the owner of the Furry Library, which has an extensive collection of furry literature, from comics to fanzines. This one also has a Patreon in need of more donations.
  • Plenty of video footage and photos, primarily of fursuiters, are viewable on the Fursuit Archive.
  • Before he passed away in 2018, Fred Patten had donated his personal collection of books and fanzines to the University of California, Riverside Library, and made regular visits to organize them. Since his passing, the collection has remained in storage with no staff to carry on his work.

Academics and Researchers

Believe it or not, there is a field of study for fandoms and fan culture (as Dox pointed out in one of his panels): Fandom Studies.

Although there isn’t an academic specialist in studying the furry fandom’s history apart from Dox, Christopher Polt, PhD has been teaching anthropomorphic art and animation history at Boston College.

The companion website for my Beast Literature course is now live and public! If anyone would like to see what we're doing and follow along, feel free to browse. I'll publish the individual components one week at a time, so check back regularly! https://t.co/6uN1TTERWw pic.twitter.com/J3BLcNTVJm

— Tofte | Christopher Polt 🏳️‍🌈 (@CBPolt) January 31, 2021

Conclusion

We live in a fortunate time where many of the pioneers of the furry fandom are still part of it, appearing and speaking at furry conventions. We are also fortunate to have the mountains of information that fandom historians have at their disposal. That doesn’t mean that it’s safe forever, or that there is no more to be found. Information will disappear if we don’t make an active effort to preserve it and share it. We should support our archives and any and all researchers creating content sharing our history.

This doesn’t just go to the fandom in the United States, I wouldn’t have been able to do a panel at ConFuzzled, let alone write a book if dedicated historians like Fred Patten didn’t lay the groundwork for me to look further. If I started later than I did, I wouldn’t have been able to save even a few mailing lists that proved valuable to my research. Not to mention that most of what I’m looking for was written in English, so there is potentially more valuable information in other languages to record the history of the furry fandom around the world. All of it needs preserving, even if some of it makes us cringe.

Gamepopper

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Try these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for news or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

History of Furcadia, the Guinness Record-winning furry MMO, and Q&A with co-creator Dr. Cat 

Thu 17 Jun 2021 - 10:00

In the early days of the internet, on dialup BBS’s and the pre-smartphone web, many fans knew they were furry before it had a name. When they logged on to find each other, a home PC became a fantasy portal for instant chatting with other talking animals. It was thrilling because who wants to play a regular human? Some haters treated them as the black sheep of nerds, but looking back, they were the first wave of a major force in the culture.

In the late 1980’s and 90’s, MMOs/MMORPGs (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games) popularized internet communities for fun. MMO’s were an evolution with graphics added to text-based MUDs (Multi User Dungeons) and MUCKs; starting in the 1970s, these were often accessed through universities. Some let users build their world, and were significant to early organized furry fandom, like FurryMUCK (1990), Tapestries MUCK (1991), FurToonia (1994), Sociopolitical Ramifications (1994) or TigerMUCK (1994). Eventually World of Warcraft grew to dominate MMO’s with millions of users.

The furry MMO Furcadia was at the front.

Furcadia facts:

  • It was founded in 1996 by Dr. Cat (Felorin) and Talzhemir, with many other contributors.
  • In its heyday, it was called the largest online furry community (- wikifur) with tens of thousands of users. It was also one of the first freemium online games.
  • Dr. Cat (below): “In the 1990s, I feel like I was one of the first people to move, along with the rest of the fledgling new online games and MMO segment of the industry, from a vision of ‘Games as a Product’ to ‘Games as a Service’… Furcadia started out as one of the very first significant scale user created content games in the industry.”
  • A 2003 Gamespy article reviewed its part in indie game development, and placing as an award finalist at the Independent Games Festival.
  • In 2010, it earned a Guinness World Record for being the longest-running social MMO.
  • In 2012, Furcadia raised $106,835 in crowdfunding to develop a full-game overhaul called “Second Dreaming”.
  • Weird: years before My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic existed, Furcadia had an MLP environment that had Nazi Ponies vs. a Resistance, to fan regret.

🚨 NEW VIDEO 🚨
Today we explore the history of the rise and unfortunate fall of the world's biggest furry MMORPG, Furcadia.https://t.co/LLImTr7FJA

Thumbnail: @squirrelgirldgt
📯: @DogpatchPress #furry #furryfandom #furcadia pic.twitter.com/CiXAclbbkk

— Xephas Gracepaws (@XephasGracepaws) May 14, 2021

Thanks to Xephas, a furry fan and Youtuber in England for sending a video about Furcadia’s history. These deep roots are worth digging into more, so I reached out to game co-founder Dr. Cat with questions from Xephas and myself.

(Dogpatch:) Hi Dr. Cat. Let’s go back to the early days when you were just starting. Were you familiar with the range of MUD’s and MMO’s around then? 

Yes, both [Furcadia co-creator and game artist] Talzhemir and I played and took inspiration from FurryMUCK and LambdaMOO. I was also on Tapestries and Space Madness, and she played a lot on AmberMUSH. I also was on the MUD-DEV mailing list and learned some important technical things about server programming from there.

Can you say anything about MUD’s and MMO’s helping start online furry fandom?

I do think FurryMUCK was fairly significant in helping the early furry fandom grow, along with conventions, zines, and Yiffnet IRC and the Usenet discussion group alt.fan.furry. Later on, I think Furcadia also did a lot to help grow the fandom, and I think in particular we brought a lot more women into the fandom, which started out initially with more male than female members.

Can we get a bio of your involvement in games and furry, and what are you up to now? 

A bio of my involvement in games would be hard to make brief, as I’ve been doing them professionally since I was 17 (started programming games at 14, and invented a few boardgames for fun before that), and I’ve worked on over 50 published games including a number of big hits in a variety of genres.

Furry fandom I discovered through FurryMUCK and then Confurence, the first furry con, and I’ve enjoyed ever since. I still love going to furry cons, and a lot of my friends and families are furries.

I would refer anyone who wants to know more to my five part interview with Matt Barton which is pretty thorough. Matt is a great interviewer who does good research beforehand. The first part is here.

I guess besides just pointing at the Matt Chat interview, I should mention some of my other career highlights among all those games has been working on the Ultima series and Ravenwood Fair, both of which features Dr. Cat as a character, 1Up Casino, and Trailer Park Boys: Greasy Money. I also wrote the compression code that’s running in every Fuzzball MUCK to this day, including FurryMUCK, and some of my slot machine code in Everi slot machines is running in almost every major casino in the world.

I’ve been doing game design consulting for the last five years also, which I’ve enjoyed quite a bit, although I don’t always have as much time to work on Furcadia as I’d wish for. If we get our player base growing again, or I make another hit game, I might be able to get back to full-time on it.

Do you have any comments in general about the fandom as a “greymuzzle”, like what it was early on and how it’s changed?

The main thing that’s changed about the fandom is it’s gotten larger. There’s probably a broader range of types of people in it too, by personality types or by any other kinds of categories you could look at. And it’s a lot closer to 50/50 on gender I think, from its early leanings towards way over half male. Which again I like to believe Furcadia played a helpful part in.

Side chat: A friend’s thoughts on furry-hating.

There was also a lot more feeling in the early years of “Everyone outside furry fandom thinks we’re a bunch of freaks or losers or perverts or all three”. Which I never believed. I firmly believed in the early years the opinion of 98% of the human race on furry fans was “What’s a furry fan? I never ever heard of that”. And that most of them who did hear about it reacted “Oh, there’s a hobby about that? Shrug whatever.” But the early fandom had a lot of people who were obsessed with the various internet trolls and others who would constantly insult furries. And they convinces themselves that’s what most of humanity thought, when I thought “No, that’s just a few hundred internet trolls and who cares about them”.

Nowadays I think there’s a lower percentage of furries who worry that furries are despised or discriminated against. Some people still feel that way, but it’s not nearly as pervasive and something you hear furries talking about constantly.

It’s funny, even in the early days, there were rumors that “You can’t get a job in the animation industry if you’re known to be a furry”. When the truth of the matter is, one prominent furry animator I know who had worked on The Simpsons and then moved to a job at Disney, he would deliberately look in the furry fandom for promising new artists and animators when they were searching for people to hire, and he ended up hiring several of them.

Rumors spread on what sounds juicy, rather than based on what’s actually true. Always. 😸

Let’s look closer at the video from Xephas. It’s real about Furcadia having a rise and fall of activity, so Xephas added: “I’d like to re-assure him that I don’t hate his game and I appreciate that things take time and that I’m very grateful for everything he’s done for the community.” What do you think of the video?

Regarding the video, I want to say thanks for all the positive and kind comments on Furcadia.

Beekin the Help Dragon

I could mention a couple of minor factual points. For one, the iPhone/iPad Furcadia client was not taken off the app store because of adult content. We coded it to block access to all adult-rated maps. It was kicked off the app store because it had a scripting language, DragonSpeak, and they used to have a “no scripting languages” rule, which they’ve since relaxed. And while the guy at Apple I spoke with agreed that our little “only affects in-game things” language was totally safe, they still had to stick to their rule rather than make exceptions to it.

Secondly, the video mentions that Second Life let you make custom avatars, while Furcadia just lets you change colors. While that’s true on main maps, in player-made dreams, which is the vast majority of the area of the game, you can make your own custom avatars and many players have done so, with a great variety of them out there.

In fact the percentage of artists who can do custom Furcadia avatars (and items, walls, floors, skins, etc) is much higher because it’s easier to use 2D art tools than 3D art tools. The failed Second Life competitor There found that of the player-made art in the game, 99% was 2D textures to apply to t-shirts and other models, and only 1% of it was actual new 3D models.

It also would be nice to mention we updated the game from 8 bit art to 32 bit art, although that’s not really a crucial point. And while we were late on delivering our kickstarter goals, we have delivered the majority of them by now, in addition to other new features besides.

I wish we had a bigger team and/or more resources, but we’ll keep improving the game over time in any case. We may add some new gameplay features to it eventually, using all we’ve learned working with a bunch of successful companies in Facebook and Mobile free-to-play games over the years. 😺

What next, a sparkle dog? No, that's definitely a Yeenen! https://t.co/EeQs60Wxh4 pic.twitter.com/db7CBn5e6H

— Furcadia (@furcadia) August 7, 2017

Xephas asks: What is Furcadia’s current roadmap and are there any time estimates? How do you intend on attracting new players?

Our roadmap is to finish testing our update that adds loops and subroutines (aka functions) to DragonSpeak, and to promote our web client especially on smartphones and tablets but just in general as well, and package a version of it as an app for the app stores that launches the web client. Beyond that we have a variety of ideas but we’ll decide later which one to do next.

There are no time estimates right now. I’m actually going to be busy for the next four months on a good paying contract for another game company that I’m very happy about, which will keep me busy on other things till that’s finished. Though I’m going to spend some time working with my new marketing volunteer.

Which answers part of the question of how I intend to attract new players. I have ALWAYS wanted someone with professional marketing experience on the team, and never had someone until now. She’s just got her PhD in the sciences, but she did professional marketing work back in New York in the past and is just generally one of the smartest people I ever met in my life. She discovered Furcadia when she was 15 and tells me it was a huge positive influence on her.

Also the fact that having the web client that can work on iOS, Android, Macintosh, Linux, and anything else with a web browser means that rather than just Windows PC owners, we can now potentially reach a couple billion smartphone owners and others who don’t have Windows machines, people who were never potential players we could reach before.

Hopefully starting out with a guerilla marketing campaign we can start growing again, and then maybe if that generates some more sales we can put some of that into additional marketing like buying some ads to play in mobile games or on websites. But this time with a results-based marketing expert deciding where to place it.

Xephas asks: Where do you see the game in 10 years time?

As for ten years from now…

In the 1990s, I feel like I was one of the first people to move, along with the rest of the fledgling new online games and MMO segment of the industry, from a vision of “Games as a Produce” to “Games as a Service”. That was a fine step forward for the 1990s. But now…

I’ve had a vision for a long time of transitioning Furcadia from “Games as a service” to “Games as a platform”. And while I’ve been too slow and understaffed to focus on that shift, I’ve seen games like Roblox go that way, to some extent Minecraft, and now Tim Sweeney is talking about Fortnite becoming a Metaverse and it has Creative Mode in it. And Raph Koster is working in this direction with his new startup as well.

I’ve met both Raph, and Tim Sweeney near the start of their careers, they’ve both had this kind of vision for a long time and are really bright guys.

Furcadia started out as one of the very first significant scale user created content games in the industry. But we didn’t take that nearly as far as user-content companies like YouTube, Twitch, etc. We need to build ways that a higher percentage of our players can create meaningful content without needing advanced skills like being an artist or programmer.

“Explore The Wylde’s many biomes!”

I would love to have a few different styles of game engines built-in like puzzle games, match 3, something like Boulderdash, etc. that any player could make levels for or whole sets of levels that were an entire game, with scripting and very high customizability. And provide ways people can make money making that content for other players.

I also want to get voice chat and video chat into the game, but make them not just “ways to chat with friends you already have”, but “ways to make new friends”, which is the secret ingredient I think most voice chat and video chat apps in the world are lacking.

I’d also like to do a spectator mode, something I’ve wanted since day one of Furcadia, and I’ve watched the rise of Twitch TV and eSports and even YouTUBE “Let’s play” videos. And I’m glad the trend has arrived but disappointed I didn’t get in on the cutting edge of that one. We did lead the way on Freemium and user-built worlds and were one of the first large games with a more than half female player base, so I’ve gotten to innovate in a few things in my day, but I’d like to get back on the cutting edge in a few of the things that may be coming up next in gaming too. I have most of my nine lives left still. 😺

Any words of wisdom to close with?

As for words of wisdom, apart from encouraging people to develop their creativity and pursue their dreams, I’d point people to the quote I put in Furcadia as an easter egg. “Dr. Cat says, Live in your hopes, not in your fears.”

Our society has a real divide now between people and institutions that try to play up people’s fears in order to get money and/or power, and those that think we can make a better world all working together, and focus on hopes as their way of getting people and resources to their cause instead.

So what started out in my mind as just advice on how an individual can try to live a more successful, productive, and happy life, just from my own experience about what focused and motivated me better… Now that seems to have morphed into a struggle for control of society itself.

Some of that may be inevitable when you shift from one Era of mankind to the next. We saw some of it when we shifted from the Agricultural Age to the Industrial Age, with the Luddites, revolutionary wars happening in most major countries, etc.

We’re seeing it again in the shift from the Industrial Age to the Information Age, which has brought societies a ton of growing pains.

So live in your hopes, not in your fears! 😺

Thanks for all this!

Mrrrrelcome! I’m a rather talkative tabby. 😉

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Categories: News