“First they came for the men dressed as giant furry rabbits, and I did nothing.” This is a sentence you may yet see when the future history of the rise of the “alt-right” (read: fascist neo-Nazis) in our contemporary era is written. A recent online conflagration that led to the cancelation of a furry convention in Colorado has shown that even the world of people who enjoy walking around as giant plush animals isn’t safe from incursion by assholes. The Daily Beast reports that Rocky Mountain Fur Con (RMFC), an annual summit held in Denver for furries, has been shut down due to the activities of a group known as “Furry Raiders,” a name that actually pairs quite well with “Sad Puppies” and other like-minded groups that appear to have a real problem with minorities.
However, Furry Raiders has done its best to distance itself from these reprehensible ideologies. Or at least they’ve tried to make a show of such distancing. It doesn’t help that the group’s leader is named “Foxler” and dresses in a red armband that is identical to a Nazi armband, save for replacing the swastika with a paw print. If you listen to a lengthy YouTube video he posted last month, Foxler (who is quick to assure people it’s a portmanteau of “Fox” and his supposed surname “Miller,” and not a much more obvious play on “Hitler”) does his best to use the language of diversity and inclusion, saying the Furry Raiders welcome all people of all stripes or species, and that personal expression of any kind is very important to them. Unfortunately, it soon becomes apparent that the main kind of free expression Foxler wants to defend is the right to dress like an anthropomorphic Nazi fox. Also, if you’re pleading for respect for diversity in your desire to dress like a Nazi, maybe don’t send an empathetic tweet of that desire to Richard “I’ll always be the white supremacist who got punched in the face” Spencer. It looks bad.
Nonetheless, Foxler, who claims to have been ignorant of WWII history and any resemblance to literally one of the most notorious ideologies in world history, says the events that led to RMFC’s cancelation are a big misunderstanding. It seems the rise of #AltFurry, a hashtag for furries who presumably don’t care much for women or people of color, led to condemnations of the look and ideas behind Furry Raiders, a group with a “very confusing past and a very confusing history,” according to Rocky Mountain Fur Con chairman Zachary Brooks, who might have a bit of his own confusion about the difference between the past and history. Regardless, in 2016, after it was announced what hotel the convention would be at, Furry Raiders quickly booked a massive block of rooms, preventing others not affiliated with the group from making any reservations. (“I had like a spare 10 extra rooms,” Foxler notes.) It was “seen by many as a malicious act by them to try to control who could and couldn’t attend. So that’s what really began the controversy with them,” Brooks continued.
From there, other furries began to discover overlap between the RMFC board and Furry Raiders, and when a furry named Deo (who hadn’t even planned to attend RMFC) made a crack on Twitter about how she “can’t wait to punch these Nazis” (this was right on the heels of Spencer getting clocked for all the world to see) and got the response that someone would “enjoying watching Deo get shot at the convention.” She notified the authorities, the hotel informed RMFC it would require a security force that would cost more than $20 thousand, and that was pretty much it for the convention. Whether Foxler himself espouses fascist ideology is unknown—Furry Raiders have started making rainbow armbands, among other colors, as a way to show its commitment to diversity—it seems obvious there are some in the #AltFurry community more than happy to wreck other people’s enjoyment of the non-fascist things in life, like being very, very committed to dressing up as cartoonish mammals.
There’s a whole other aspect to the story that involves a member of the Rocky Mountain Fur Con board being involved with sovereign citizen activities and also a convicted sex offender, which is probably not high on the list of things with which furries want to be associated. Also, other furries discovered RMFC, which claimed to be run by a nonprofit, had actually had that status revoked back in 2011 for failure to file statements with the IRS. Basically, it’s a whole mess, and a lot of it can be chalked up to a likely small group of guys who start statements with things like, “I’m not a neo-Nazi, but…” This is why we can’t have nice things, or even harmless but slightly unsettling things, depending on your views of the furry community.