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A ‘cult?’The Garoshadowscale controversy

Furry content creator Garoshadowscale is under fire. That is because of how he reportedly managed his relations with his Discord community members.

Many other furries also claim he financially exploits his audiences.

Viral group rules; contention explodes

On Wednesday (Nov 3, 2021), Twitter user @OmgLeto posted a picture showing Garo’s group rules.

According to the picture, his rules limit interaction between members. It also states to maintain focus on Garo himself and his content.

  • Members, or ‘Wigglies’, cannot send each other friend requests.
  • Members should keep mutual interactions to a minimum.
  • When Garo is not hosting games, no members can play together.
  • Members can access his virtual Minecraft and Terraria worlds at any time.
  • Always include Garo in group meetups.
  • Maintain the focus on Garo himself and his content.

The tweet then went viral and caused an uproar. Many furries were very unhappy. They called him an ‘egoist.’

Furries spotlighted Garo’s Patreon membership as well. Membership levels range from US$5 to US$500 a month. From the second tier on, members enjoy more benefits on his Discord server.

But the tiers also tied Patreon membership with how members should interact with Garo. So, furries say he was ‘taking advantage of his audiences.’ Some even say he was turning his Discord community ‘into a cult.’

Beyond rules and Patreon tiers…

One day later, on Thursday (Nov 4, 2021), @XionShepsky posted two pictures. These showed more of Garo’s server information.

In the same thread, another tweet shows Garo’s ‘regular status’ for his server members. Garo’s ‘regular status’ allows his supporters to play games with him.

According to the pictures, Discord members achieve regular status by watching their streams for a specific amount of time. Members’ watch times are recorded.

Another Twitter user, @Faunic2, claims he was a moderator for Garo’s live streams and Discord server before.

He posted a pair of pictures. They show Garo disagreeing to distribute moderation duties to other moderators in his Discord server.

Three days later, on Sunday (Nov 7, 2021), @AtmanRyu assumed Garo’s audiences are mostly minors – people under 18 years of age.

He supported his assumption with two pictures from Garo’s YouTube video list.

Six days pass. On Saturday (Nov 13, 2021), @danderwoolf posted a picture showing a private Discord chat between Garo and Discord user “Kyle789.” He claims this picture came around August 2020.

The picture shows Garo, according to @danderwoolf, “telling someone what they can or cannot do outside his Discord server.”

Tweets against Garo surfaced even before @OmgLeto’s tweet on Nov 3.

On July 7, 2021 (Wednesday), @Sam_Floof_Derg says Garo made him change his Discord profile status.

The status wrote “DM me the word Tomato” – which violates the second rule stated in Garo’s server – to not ‘encourage DMs/targeting.’

‘DMs’ is an online slang meaning ‘direct messaging’. This refers to private chats between two people.

The word ‘apology,’ put in quotes by furries

On Thursday (Nov 11, 2021), Garo publishes a video titled ‘My Statement.’

In the video, he apologises for his attitude towards other members. He points out he is a ‘blunt and straightforward person.’

Garo also states his audiences are not mostly minors under 18. He used his YouTube Analytics to prove it. The analytics show, 6.7% of his audiences are 13-17 years old – the smallest portion of the pie.

On his contentious Discord and Patreon membership. Garo says to talk to him, people do not need to first be a member on Patreon or his Discord server. He adds, “most of (his) community isn’t pledged (with Patreon).”

He “chat(s) and hang(s) out with (his viewers) every day on Twitch and Discord for hours regardless of Patreon status.”

But many furries disagreed with the video, saying Garo is not directly addressing the main concerns. YouTuber Arenthio is one of them, calling the video a ‘fake apology.’

On the same day Garo released ‘My Statement’, Arenthio says he ‘did the bare minimum’ to change and continued his monetising plans.

Arenthio says people could lie about their age to access content. He proceeds to say Garo “proceeds to double down on child exploitation.”

The “exploitation” refers to the notion that Garo is exploiting his audiences. This points back to Garo’s expensive Patreon memberships.

Arenthio further claims Garo’s Discord server became “increasingly difficult” to enter. He states,

“Access to his discord has become increasingly more difficult every time people have called him out. First it was phone verification, second it was verifying manually, now you have to pay to get in.”

Meanwhile, Garo increased the bar to enter his Discord server.

On Thursday (Nov 11, 2021), YouTuber BetaEtaDelota published a video about Garo’s controversy. In his video, the lowest Patreon tier, ‘Paw'(US$5 a month), allows entry to Garo’s Discord server.

Then as of Sunday (Nov 14, 2021), the ‘Paw’ tier no longer allows entry to Garo’s Discord server. The lowest eligible tier became ‘Butt’ (US$25 a month).

Garo’s Patreon has 28 supporters and earns US$1,094 a month as of Nov 11, 2021.

Was personal history fuelling this?

We return to the contention on Garo’s Discord server rules.

One day after @OmgLeto’s tweet, on Thursday (Nov 4, 2021), another user, @Fulcrum_Falcon posted a screenshot of his private Discord chat with Garo.

Fulcrum tells him, “(The server’s) Rule one makes you look self-centred,” and calls for him to be “more lenient with (the rules).”

Garo replies, mentioning he “has been backstabbed by several established and startup creators” in his server.

He also states, his server is for people who “care about (him) and his content.”

With Fulcrum’s post, many questions surface: is this all fuelled by Garo’s bad history with content creators?

What motivated his reported behaviour with other people? What is he trying to achieve in the end with the rules?

GFTV reached out to Garo through email for comment. We asked:

  • Rules 1 and 2 are made because of, according to you, your history with content creators. Can you explain for us what do you mean by that?
  • Would you mind telling us what happened to you before? 
  • What do you want to achieve, or prevent, with these rules? 
  • How do you define your relationship with your viewers? 
  • What do you truly want your viewers to do on the server, perhaps, with you? 

We are waiting for his reply right now. In the meantime, furries are now embroiled with anger towards Garo.

How do Garo’s audiences really feel?

Furries saw Garo’s controversial Discord rules as a big deal. They have outpoured concern for Garo’s audiences, feeling they are ‘exploited’ by Garo.

But do they really reflect how Garo’s audiences feel and experience?

One of Garo’s supporters is Twitter user @JohnHall2021. They occasionally draw fan art for Garo and even engage with him on VRChat.

John is middle-aged, at 31. They even are interested to join Garo’s US$500 tier on Patreon.

John expressed discontent towards his sceptics in light of Garo’s controversy.

On Nov 10, 2021, John tweeted, saying they stopped supporting Garo. But 14 days later, on Nov 24, 2021, they drew a birthday fan art for Garo.

We contacted John on Discord.

They told us, they supported Garo since Sept this year. They are on Garo’s ‘Butt’ (US$25 a month) membership tier, and have Garo’s ‘regular role’.

The ‘regular role’ is a role on Garo’s Discord server. When earned, members can play games with him.

  • PAWSRY (GFTV): What do you like about Garo?
  • JOHN: I think Garo can play some games with his friends including “Among Us” (which that I got it on Nintendo Switch because it’s much better that way.). However, I could play that game every Friday when I watched his stream on Twitch.
  • PAWSRY (GFTV): To you, is it worth supporting Garo with so much money?
  • JOHN: First, I paid $5 for the Paw Patron tier. Then, I paid $25 for the Butt Patron tier. But as soon as I gained the hours of my weekly watchtime on the regular status channel, Garo can unlocked my Regular Role achievement on his Discord server.
  • PAWSRY (GFTV): So from what I understand here, ya like Garo because he games with friends? And now with you getting the regular tier, it lets you game with Garo more and that makes ya happy?
  • JOHN: That’s right

John says this is proof that Garo is not a ‘narcissist.’

Earlier, we saw John saying he stopped supporting Garo. He seems to be back in Garo’s supporters’ club – why?

  • PAWSRY (GFTV): I also am curious about one thing tho. Ya mentioned earlier this month, you stopped supporting Garo. What made ya change your mind, if ya did, to continue supporting Garo?
  • JOHN: Garo told me that it’s ok. Patreon is 100% optional.
  • PAWSRY (GFTV): If I understand you correctly, you stopped supporting him via Patreon; however Garo tells you it is optional; you can support him even if you don’t do Patreon?
  • JOHN: That’s correct

Furries kept on saying Garo was “creating a cult.” But what does the word “cult” mean?

According to the Free Dictionary by Farlex, one of the meanings of ‘cult’:

Obsessive, especially faddish, devotion to or veneration for a person, principle, or thing.

Using this, furries described Garo. They often claimed all his audiences are “cult followers.”

But now we talked with John, an enthusiastic Garo supporter, where is the ‘cult’ mentality towards Garo?

Bots for censorship?

Furries have been posting pictures showing a graph of Garo’s subscriber count. Many assumed he is using bots to boost subscriber counts.

That is because of his reportedly consistent subscriber growth count. They point to differences of 100 between each month.

https://twitter.com/SpicyFurryTakes/status/1456500843495182336?s=20

We verified this claim. What we found: inconsistent subscriber growth.

SocialBlade statistics

Weekly changes go up and down – but in multiples of 100.

At the time of publishing, in the last 30 days, Garo lost 400 subscribers.

Many people point to fixed subscriber growth as proof of this because the differences are in multiples of 100.

But – since Sept 2019, SocialBlade can only show numbers in multiples of 100. We really don’t know how much his subscribers are growing.

HypeAuditor statistics

We then consulted HypeAuditor, another statistics platform like SocialBlade. They claim to use artificial intelligence (AI) to assess social media performance.

According to HypeAuditor, across all of Garo’s channels, he got 86/100 on the Channel Quality Score.

The Score measures a content creator’s channel on four metrics: creator, audience, credibility and engagement.

Focus on the ‘credibility’ section. It checks if a channel’s subscribers and audiences are real or fake.

Garo receives 5/5 on this metric.

Screengrab as of Dec 3, 2021.

HypeAuditor told GFTV the ‘credibility’ section does say if audiences are fake or real.

One note – HypeAuditor don’t explain much about how their metrics work.

Critics fire up

There are furries criticising the community’s reaction towards Garoshadowscale.

On Nov 7, 2021, @AtmanRyu posted a tweet. It has a picture purportedly showing @TemporalAlpha criticising furries for the “hate and drama” towards Garo.

The account claims @TemporalAlpha is a bot account. We cannot verify that.

The original tweet is deleted. We cannot confirm its existence either as web archive sites did not archive it.

@danderwoolf, who popularly covered the controversy, got his own critics.

On Apr 29, 2022, YouTuber Labb Ratt points out that Dander heavily bases its coverage on unverified hearsay claims – which amounts to online harassment.

Online harassment is illegal in the US at the state and federal levels. Dander is based in the US. If convicted, he may face a US$50,000 fine, a jail term of not more than two years, or both.

If broadly applied, a big number of internet users who also spread these hearsay claims are liable for the same punishment.

Furries were also blasted for harassing Garo’s audiences.

User @DeVoutNumelran says, though they don’t support Garo’s system, they oppose harassing those who join Garo’s memberships.

Another user, @burnixart, echoed the sentiment. They also pointed out, it is their choice to support him.

The aftermath

Garo responded nearly a year after the controversy on Oct 29, 2022. Responding to our questions for him, he sent us this video.

TLDR: Garo doesn’t want to lose his audience at all.

Garo says people tried to drive key members away from his community before. Those who did are what he called “backstabbers.”

He tightened his rules so much because he doesn’t want people to “(gain) influence and control over (his) viewers.”

This is to prevent his audiences from outflowing away from him. It’s also why he banned content creators in his server and all self-promotions.

Furries widely called this a result of strong paranoia.

Meanwhile, Garo’s critics saw a stumbling block.

@Danderwoolf says his repeated coverage of Garo deteriorated his mental health and diminished his fanbase.

He apologised to Garo in a video for defamation of character but then made it private.

His subsequent apology video – that’s public – made no mention of this.

It only focused on them addressing Labb Ratt with wrong gender pronouns in the former video.

Today: both furries and non-furries cycle the same allegations against Garo.

Claims they made especially about Garo’s “mostly under 18 audiences,” “exploitation” and “cult” still go unfounded and unproven.

Regardless, furries used it to call on others to stay away from him. Worse still, labeling anyone not supporting these claims as Garo’s ‘defenders.’

VIDEO STORY: A “cult”? The Garoshadowscale controversy | Furry In-Depth


EDIT 6/12/2021 UTC+8 1:58am: New information furnished and added.

EDIT 30/10/2022 UTC+8 1:01pm: Added update on Danderwoolf and Garo.

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One response to “A ‘cult?’The Garoshadowscale controversy”

  1. As someone who was/or rather still is a startup content creator who has known Garo for 3 years now, he wasn’t that extreme back then.
    However, when it comes to Streamers, he only appreciated the ones raiding him and helping him grow, allowing only them to talk about how their streams went and so on. Everyone else who didn’t throw money at him in some way or gave him views, total red flag. The final straw that broke our fake friendship was me saying he’s inspiring me to stream as well, if I could, bc my internet was really frikkin bad at the time, so no chance I could start streaming. It was only then when I realised he’s gotten way too paranoid, as he was pushing hard for Twitch Partner. The thing about his ”being backstabbed by established and startup content creators” statement, the first time this happened, Garo’s followers left his server and joined someone else’s out of free will. Garo thought I would try the same, as I befriended most of the core members and some moderators at the time, which I’m still in touch with today, therefore he banned me after we talked it out rather peacefully in fact. So what do I want to say here? Garo wasn’t backstabbed, he was paranoid and evolved into the extreme narcissist he is now out of fear of losing followers if they connect to others inside his community. Lastly, I’m not angry at Garo, I’m actually sad how our friendship ended because fame was and is more important to him than, well, genuine friends. That’s my story with him at least.

    Like

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