Furry social media platform Barq is under fire after a platform admin flagged the initialism ‘ACAB’ (All Cops Are Bastards).
Furries met this with outrage. But as the controversy went on, it unintendedly highlighted how US politics pitted furries into an us-versus-them position.
Follow us down the timeline.
Warning chit sparks outrage
Twitter user @CaptainHonk made a tweet with a screenshot of the warning. The warning states that ACAB ‘is not allowed’ on Barq.
Furries were not happy at this. Some first deleted their accounts and the app.
Another user says Barq is “silencing furries against people who deserve it.”
Furries then started comparing Barq with Truth Social, a social media service made by former US President Donald Trump. Furries see Truth Social as politically conservative; that is what they compared Barq with too.
Barq’s founder responds
Building on the rage, furries went as far as to send death threats to Barq founder Woutske. Woutske first states that ‘ACAB’ is not hate speech; the ban was a ‘mistake.’
They added: they ‘always vote left (political left-wing)’, BLM and ‘actively (bans) nazi and fascist groups’ off Barq.
We don’t know so far if the Barq moderator in question is removed. Furries called on the platform to remove them.
What are ACAB and BLM?
ACAB means “All Cops Are Bastards.” It is used as a slogan by those who are against the police.
The term first came from England in the 1940s by workers on strike. More people used the term after a police officer killed a black man called George Floyd in June 2020. This caused strong outrage within the US, strongly reinforcing the BLM movement.
BLM means “Black Lives Matter”. They insist the police unfairly mistreated black people.
The movement started in the United States in July 2013. A year before, a US court acquitted George Zimmerman of second-degree murder after police shot dead 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, a black teenager.
Furries link Barq flagging ‘ACAB’ to right-wing politics
In the United States, police brutality is a very sensitive topic.
Since George Floyd’s death, the topic again erupted with rallying cries of “defund the police” to try to stop police brutality. Mistrust toward the police exploded.
Most Americans see their country in black-and-white in terms of politics.
Left-wing, progressives are Democrats; Right-wing, conservatives are Republicans. Over decades, both political parties grew apart. Political centrists, or moderates in the US government – shrunk.
As the two parties fought, this mantra came: “you can only be either liberal or conservative”.
People then started to label others based on their support or opposition to a subject. In this case, opinion on the police.
According to a 2016 Pew Research Center survey, Republicans view the police more favourably than Democrats do. This made people think that all Republicans – or conservatives – are ‘pro-police’.
For furry fandom, that is especially true.
This makes furries feel anyone opposing ACAB is thus right-wing.
That’s why furries linked Barq’s flagging of ACAB with political right-wing concepts.
Furries slammed for applying local politics overseas
To note, Amsterdam is the Netherlands’ capital city; Woutske is from the Netherlands.
In this dispute, the ACAB appeal is US-centric – because people bonded it with BLM. Thus, it rang hollow for furries overseas.
American furries are slammed for applying their local political reasoning overseas. But proponents insist ACAB apply to all police officers beyond US borders.
Locally in the US, many also slammed furries for rapidly escalating matters. One user adds, ‘many’ Barq team members ‘strongly’ support ACAB/BLM.
Another user points out that raising ACAB does ‘absolutely nothing’ to help solve police brutality. The term sees no consensus among persons of colour, they added.
By data, that seems to be true.
“Defund the police” is commonly linked to ACAB. Black respondents have no consensus on this, according to a 2020 Yahoo News survey (p. 114).
A moderator from furry social platform Barq flagged ACAB, and gave warnings.
Furries are very unhappy. In protest, furries deleted their Barq profiles. Death threats were sent to Barq’s founder.
Barq’s founder clarified the warning was a ‘mistake’.
Given the political sensitivities of ACAB and BLM, furries assumed Barq and its founder as pro-police and bonded them to right-wing politics.
But furries’ actions here were slammed by many overseas and locally. That is since many personally attacked Barq’s founder, plus applied the US’ political reasoning overseas.