The Furry Community Struggles to Wipe Out Far-Right Agitators

The Furry Community Struggles to Wipe Out Far-Right Agitators

Don’t let this flop will be released on Wednesdays on all audio streaming platforms, including Apple podcast, Spotify, Amazon Music, stapler and more.

On June 26, Michael Edward Herman, a 35-year-old West Virginia resident, was accused of making “terrorist threats” on Twitter. According to a press release from the West Virginia Department of Homeland Security, the tweets contained “intimidating language” aimed at Governor Jim Justice, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and Vice President Kamala Harris “regarding the passage and enforcement of abortion bans.” Although the tweets were not made public, previous posts on his social media show that he campaigned vigorously for the election, and the timing suggests he may have sent the alleged messages as state officials were attempting to implement an abortion ban. (He has yet to plead the charges, and his public defender declined to comment at this time.)

However, shortly after his arrest, members of the furry community pointed out that Herman was a furry named Cani Lupin and had been a troubling, far-right voice in the community for years. Dogpatch Press, a website that tracks Furry News, published extensive tweets from Lupine, who was known for posting some pretty hateful things – transphobic statements and messages, mostly with generic MAGA undertones. In the absence of information about the tweets that led to his arrest, the community focused on his earlier, far-right comments and expressed concern that he wasn’t the only one expressing these views.

On the surface, the furry community doesn’t seem like a place for an extremist contingent to fester. It’s extremely LGBTQ+ friendly, made up mostly of neurodivergent kids and adults, and often characterized by a deep love of feature-length cartoons like Zootopia and The Bad Guys. Participants create “fursonas” — anthropomorphic animals that they make up, name, and leave a personality — to draw, share on the web, or even morph into giant costumes that can cost hundreds of dollars to put on a show Bear by dozens of annual conventions held across the country. For many, this often-maligned subculture gives them great solace, being able to interact with the world from the comfort of their fursona.

On this week’s episode of Rolling Stone’s Internet Culture Podcast, Don’t Let This Flop, we talk about the small but vocal group of furries who drive anti-trans, anti-LGBTQ+, and often racist content on message boards and Post to social media sites. “Generally, furries aren’t that kind of right fringe,” says Kameron Dunn, a graduate student at the University of Texas who studies online subcultures and is a furry himself. “Part of what makes it a spectacle is that furries are very, very public, especially when they’re doing very controversial things.”

This discourse can be traced back to April 2017, when a group called the Furry Raiders — who wore red armbands with black paw prints over their fursuits that some said resembled a Nazi uniform — planned to attend a convention called Rocky Mountain Fur attend Con. The group claimed they weren’t Nazis (“We have a strong stance on upholding equality and personal creativity within fandom,” one of the group’s members told Rolling Stone at the time), but after some participants threatened violence, the police of Denver investigated and found the threats to be credible. When the venue demanded $22,000 in additional security costs, organizers decided to close it.

Though slowed by the pandemic, in-person gatherings are roaring back. Just a few weeks ago there was a convention called Free Fur All in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Although Congress’ parent organization states on its website that it is “non-partisan and supports no political or religious causes,” many within the larger community have pointed to speakers and performers — including an “anti-communist, anti-woke” comedian as a member Links to the far right to show that this gathering was targeting furries with far right views. “Free Fur All is the biggest thing that’s happened in terms of visibility for these far-rights,” Dunn says. Patch O’Furr, founder of Dogpatch Press, notes that the furries that participate in Free Fur All are a very small part of the community. “It’s kind of an orphan of the whole scene,” he says. “It’s not something the furry fandom will claim.”

So what attracts people with the right to furrydom? This week’s Don’t Let This Flop hosts Ej Dickson and Liz Garber-Paul (replacing Brittany Spanos) discuss far-right furries, as well as a royal pegging rumor, Bama Rush Tok, and Kevin Bacon’s status as TikTok’s Himbo King .

Don’t Let This Flop is released on Wednesdays across all audio streaming platforms including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, Stitcher and more.