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.
“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.
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.
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。
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。