In the age of Trump, it seems as if every subculture is being torn apart by partisan sniping. Even the cuddliest ones aren’t immune! Not long ago aspiring foxes laid down peacefully next to two-legged sheep. But the fur is now flying in the once-tranquil furry scene.
According to an article last Friday in the Daily Beast, the Rocky Mountain Fur Con — an annual convention for furries across the country — is closing its doors due to increasing threats of violence between neo-nazi and leftist furry factions.
“The movement has grown into a community that promotes violence,” which has led to “drastic increases in security costs,” the RMFC said in a statement announcing the closure.
The leadership of the RFMC is blaming the closure on a veteran furry named Deo, an avowed communist whose Twitter bio describes herself as a “loud tasmanian devil lady.” After it was revealed that the convention’s leadership had ties to the Nazi furry movement, Deo decided to make a crack on Twitter about how she “can’t wait to punch these Nazis.” (Naturally, she was inspired by that now-classic vid of Richard Spencer being punched in the face on the streets of D.C.)
At first, Deo thought nothing of her tweet. “I’ve been a shitposter for a long time,” she told Four Two Nine. “Saying I wanted to punch a Nazi was just a little blip.”
But as is frequently the case on Twitter, Deo promptly received a death threat in return for her quip: an anonymous user wrote that he would “enjoy watching Deo get shot,” leading Deo to notify the convention about the threat of impending gun violence at their event. The Marriott hotel then somehow learned of her warning and contacted the Denver Police, who found the threat to be credible.
Then, late last month, Deo received an ominous letter from the organizers of the event (stamped with a red ink thumbprint, the official furry seal), threatening her with legal action for besmirching the convention’s name, and informing her that she was guilty of “possibly felonious activities.” Deo was spooked by the letter; though seemingly nonchalant about being doxxed online, she’d never been targeted at her home.
“When you come after me at my house, that’s when things start getting personal,” she said.
In fact, the letter was just the beginning. Soon after, Deo found herself the target of hate from alt-right communities across the vast furry universe.
“I have animes Nazis after me now. There was even a Bionacle Nazi who threatened me with Legos recently,” she said. The Bionacle Nazi, an enthusiast of the particularly spiky, battle-ready toys, tweeted a swastika at Deo composed of Bionacle parts, asking her to fight him and test her luck. Deo demurred.
After hearing Deo’s story, one might wonder: why are there so many Nazis connected to the furry movement?
According to her, the community’s welcoming, multifaceted culture has made it particularly vulnerable to aspiring fascists. “The furry community is so open, you can be anything you want. It’s open to people who want to role-play as anthropomorphic animal pool toys or who have the sexual fetish of melting into goo. But that openness is also why we have a Nazi problem.”
Cosplaying Nazis weren’t automatically ostracized when the furry movement was first getting off the ground, she explained. “It started off with uniform fetishists, which really isn’t that different. You’d have the occasional person wearing Nazi-esque gear for sexual fetishism, but they weren’t organizing as groups and they weren’t espousing Nazi beliefs. The Furry Raiders and the rise of this alt-right movement are shaping a new version of the Nazi fur.”
The Furry Raiders are a group of #altfurries known for their distinctive armbands which look suspiciously like Nazi iconography. The group is led by a man by the name of Foxler who insists his clan is more inspired by Green Day than Goebbels. Foxler admits he tweeted out a Nazi salute while using the #AltFurry hashtag, but he now claims that was all a misunderstanding. More recently, he has attempted to distance himself and his group from the actual Nazi furries with a welcome message that effusively extolls the virtues of diversity and inclusion.
Unsurprisingly, the Furry Raiders’ new posture hasn’t gone over too well with more extreme members of the alt right community. The Twitter user @TheQuQu is a self-described “alt-Furry leader and press contact” whose teal-haired, twinky avatar is what’s known as a “Pooka,” or shapeshifter. He said the Furry Raiders aren’t nearly “ideological” enough for him. After denouncing the “hypocrisies” of communism, he blasted Deo for her political beliefs, blaming her and other communist critters for the closure of the Denver fur convention. “Of course Deo, a proud communist, will jump at shadows at even the hint of the presence of national socialism,” he said. “The existence of The Furry Raiders and the #AltFurry was transformed into a politically convenient moral panic.”
That “moral panic” is transforming Deo’s life; now at the center of a shitstorm between #altfurries and #antifafurries she’s become one of the most consequential furries online. “It’s almost like very strange fan fiction is now being written about my life,” she said.
That said, she doesn’t seem to be taking the online threats seriously. “They [the Nazi furries]think these memes will hurt me but I’ve been collecting them all like Pokemon and I’m delighted because memes are hilarious. Like, wow you tried hard. This is beautiful!”
In the back-and-forth between Deo and the RMFC, it was also revealed to the public that the proprietor of the convention — the one who sent her the threatening letter — is a registered sex offender and alleged sovereign citizen.
“If you would have told me a year ago that furries who dress like Nazis and espouse Nazi ideology plus a registered sex offender and sovereign citizen were going to attack me, I would have called you crazy,” she said.
Thankfully for all the other furries out there, a bevy of other conventions still play host to the bushy-tailed; according to Furwiki, there are almost 30 annual furry conventions across the country that haven’t been shut down due to threats of violence. Presumably, you don’t have to give a furry Sieg Heil to join in the fun.