The political ‘backdoor’: Upcoming Oklahoma furcon FreeFurAll under fire due to claimed political motivation

Despite the pandemic’s momentum in the past year, many furries have planned for a post-pandemic future, including new furry events.

On Wednesday (Sept 1), US non-profit Anthro West Open Organization, or AWOO, announced a new furcon named FreeFurAll. It will be held in the US state of Oklahoma.

Their image then soured, as many furries say politics drove the furcon. There are many reasons behind this reaction.

Reason #1: Persons and groups involved – with poor reputations

One reason points to persons involved with FreeFurAll.

Furries are unhappy at Peacewolf (Nicole Reno) apparently leading the furcon. Film review site We Got This Covered got this claim from an anonymous source. She is, but, one of three people who established AWOO. Her image is poor in the furry fandom, because she has made politically sensitive statements in the past.

Some have claimed she is related to sociopolitical furry group Furry Raiders. They are often compared to the alternative-right movement, because their CEO, Foxler, has linked himself with far-right groups often. Rumours were spread that a part of that group associated themselves with the convention.

  • **We do not know any sources that have documented, detailed or published FreeFurAll’s staff manifest at the time of publishing.

Furries are also unhappy at FreeFurAll inviting furry comedian 2Gryphon as a special guest. Because he has made sensitive statements during his career, notoriety has been tied to him in the eyes of the community.

Before, his career took him to annually perform, or ‘rant’ at US convention Anthrocon. In 2017, the furcon stopped scheduling his performances moving forward. They state it was done in view of the show’s attendance count. But, furries say this action was a response to his video released in 2016 about social justice.

FreeFurAll mentioned this event on their website, framing this event as the comedian being ‘banned’ due to free speech. This hardened the general thought that the furcon had a conservative political lean.

Reason #2: Nationalistic design choices?

Another aspect relates to FreeFurAll’s designs. That is because they used the American flag and colours in their marketing materials.

Plus, similarities were drawn between the logos of their parent association, AWOO and a Turkish far-right organization. Furries have thus linked the event with right-wing nationalism.

Reason #3: Confusing policies

One month ago, some furries got COVID-19 at Florida-based furcon Megaplex. Furries have since pushed furcons to install policies that need attendees to vaccinate or have a negative COVID-19 test prior.

Because of that, many furries questioned if FreeFurAll had installed such a policy. Confusion arose over how their policy is written, thus some inferred they had an anti-vaccine stance.

Oklahoma’s COVID-19 advisory recommends mask wearing in public spaces and vaccinations. This was last updated Aug 13, 2020.

“Please consult your personal physician about the best way to protect yourself and your health while attending an event such as Free Fur All, and be courteous of other attendees who are trying to protect themselves as well.”

COVID-19 policy of FreeFurAll

FreeFurAll also needs attendees to wear ‘PG-13 attire’ whenever outside the event space. Because they are an 18+ event, some furries compared them with the Burned Furs. It is a defunct movement that once aimed to counter adult content in the fandom.

Other debated aspects concerned the furcon’s charity partner Safari Sanctuary. The sanctuary’s practices are reportedly controversial in many cases. This has subjected them to strong scrutiny; they have closed operations as of today.

To sum up, FreeFurAll’s image soured because furries felt right-wing politics influenced them. And when sensitive figures and groups crossed, it soured further.

Thus, terms such as ‘free-speech convention,’ ‘racist con’ and even ‘Donald Trump convention’ were used to describe them.

A reminder of the fandom’s political division

GFTV has contacted FreeFurAll for comment, asking:

  • Is the organization and the event under it, specifically FreeFurAll, politically motivated?
  • What are your comments on many furries associating the convention with racism and right-wing politics?
  • Why did your event choose to include the American national colours and flag in your design collateral?
  • Are there any policies implemented on the aspect of attendance in view of COVID-19?

The furcon’s spokesperson then replied:

““Free Fur All” is America’s Anthro Convention. The answers to all of your questions are available on our website”

A look at their parent organization AWOO’s statement showed the following:

“This organization is nonpartisan and supports no political or religious causes. Our mission is to build a community and host fundraising events that are welcoming and enjoyable to all, regardless of background.”

Within this wave of anger towards the furcon, some furries have criticised the fandom for such. Most of them are conservatives.

One user says this harsh attitude towards people of different opinions has led to bullying and harassment. This included those with a middle political position, even if they did not harm anyone.

Another user says the fandom’s political leanings drove the controversy. They also mentioned the ‘censorship and ridicule’ present as well.

As a centrist or centre-left concept, social liberalism is common in the furry fandom. Most furries are part of minority groups, for example, the LGBT and disability communities.

These groups have faced social challenges, such as intolerance and harassment. Thus, the fandom became protective against people considered to be preserving these challenges.

These are at odds with the fandom’s right-wing conservatives. That is because they hold traditional ideas and often decry what they consider curtailed free speech.

With the political left and right sides intensifying in disputes globally, so does the furry fandom. Because of these factors, quoting furry encyclopedia WikiFur: the fandom is rarely united on various issues. The divide along political fault lines thus is, of no doubt, not going away any time soon.

Editor’s note: sources retrieved within a week before time of publishing.


政治动机作祟?即将来临的美国俄州展会因被控浓重政治倾向而被集火

鉴于去年疫情来势汹汹,许多兽友已经规划了后疫情时代的日子,其中就包括新的兽圈活动。

在周三(9月1日)美国非盈利组织Anthro West Open Organization, 简称 AWOO,宣布了举办新兽展FreeFurAll的消息。它将会在美国俄克拉荷马州举办。

然而他们的形象很快就垮塌了,因为许多兽友认为这背后有着政治倾向。这种说法不是不无道理的。

理由一:部分相关团体和人员声名狼藉

其中一个理由直指FreeFurAll的相关人员。

兽友对Peacewolf(Nicole Reno)似乎有的兽展带领权表示不满。影评网站We Got This Covered的匿名消息支持了这种说法。但是,她确实是建立AWOO的三个人之一。她在圈内的风评很差,因为过去她曾发表过敏感言论。

有些人称她和社政组织Furry Raiders也有关,其经常被对标另类右翼运动。这是因为他们的首席执行官Foxler经常将自己与(极右翼)团体联系起来。据信,该组织的一部分人与FreeFurAll有关联。

**截至发表日期,我们不知道有任何记录、详细说明或公布FreeFurAll的工作人员名单的来源。

兽友们也对FreeFurAll邀请的喜剧演员2 Gryphon作为特别嘉宾感到不满。因为他在职业中发表过敏感的言论,恶名在兽圈眼中已和他联系在一起了。

之前,他职业中每年都会在美国兽展Anthrocon上表演或 “咆哮”。2017年,该展停止安排他的表演。他们表示,这样做是考虑到演出的出席人数。但是,兽友们说这一行动是对他在2016年发布的关于社会正义的视频的回应。

FreeFurAll在他们的网站上提到了这一事件,把这一事件说成是他因言论自由而被 “禁止”。这使人们普遍认为这兽展有一个保守政治倾向。

理由二:设计含国家元素

另一个理由和该兽展的视觉标识有关。因为他们在宣传内容中使用了美国国旗和旗上的颜色。

标志设计方面,有兽友指出AWOO的标志与土耳其的一个极右翼组织样貌相似;因此,毛兽们将兽展与民族主义打成了关系。

理由三:迷惑性规定

一个月以前,一些毛兽在弗罗里达州举办的Megaplex上患上新冠,因此在兽友争取下各兽展都开始施行新规定,要求打过疫苗或者有核酸阴性证明。

因此,FreeFurAll同样也被要求实施类似规定。他们规定的写法令人感到疑惑,这让人推测他们是否表里不一。

俄克拉荷马州推荐大家在公共场合出行时佩戴口罩并推荐接种疫苗。这条提示最后更新于2020年8月13日。

参加诸如FreeFurAll之类的活动时,请咨询你的个人医生以获取保护自己健康安全的最佳方式,并且也礼貌对待其他尝试保护自己的人们。

该兽展同样要求参展人在展空间外任何时候都穿着正经服装。因为他们是成人级别的活动,有人就拿Burned Furs来对标他们这种所谓抹除成人内容的行为。

其他热议话题包括兽展的慈善机构合作者Safari Sanctuary。该机构的行动也被报告称有多处自相矛盾。这导致他们被严格审查,至今仍然暂停活动。

总结一下,FreeFurAll形象崩塌是因为兽友认为其中有右翼政治因素,并且有敏感人员和组织佐证。于是,兽友用诸如“言论自由展”,“种族主义展”甚至是“川普展”的词汇形容他们。

兽圈内政治分歧的提醒

国际兽视联系了展会相关人员,问道:

  • 一,这个展会是否和政治相关
  • 二,他们对大众激烈反应的看法
  • 三,为什么设计中有美国国家要素
  • 四,有什么确定的疫情防控措施

展会发言人这么回答道:

FreeFurAll是一个美国亚人文化展,你们所有问题的答案都在我们网站上有提及。

一部分AWOO母组织的宣传如下:

该组织无党派、无政治或宗教立场。我们的使命就是建立社区并主办筹款活动,它们将欢迎并取悦任何背景的人。

在这股愤怒大潮中,一部分保守主义的毛兽批判说这是兽圈自己的问题。

一名兽友说这种对意见分歧的严厉态度导致了欺凌与骚扰。这也包括了那些立场中立的人们,即使他们没有伤害任何人。

另一名兽友说是兽圈的政治倾向导致了这场争论。他们同样提及了当中有的所谓“审查和嘲讽”

作为中立或偏左的一种立场,社会自由主义在圈内很常见。不少兽友都属于少数群体,如LGBT社区。

这些群体多少面对了社会压力,比如其他人的不容忍与骚扰。于是兽圈在面对这些挑战时变得很有防御性。

这些和兽圈的右翼保守派相悖,那是因为他们墨守成规并且责难他们所认为的不自由言论。

在全球左右翼逐渐加剧的今天,兽圈也一样。鉴于这些因素,我们引用WikiFur的一句话:这个圈子在部分事件上几乎不团结。

这种在政治上的分歧,无疑短期内不会消失。

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