It seems pretty crazy to think that at one time, the furry fandom was a trendy refuge for the rejected nerds of society. To anyone normal it might seem comical. For years, furries have always been the punching bag of the internet and rightfully so. Furries have a knack for drawing some really fucked up art online in between the well-drawn fanart and porn that’d draw horny nerds in. As the infamous zoosadist leak showed lots of furries do shag animals. Despite all the fluff pieces of furries saying that few have sex in the famous animal costumes, one search of murrsuit into your favorite search engine brings up this content.
But to a NEET or McJob employee who wasn’t well liked in society being a furry is an escape. It’s an escape from being a boring human working a shitty job with future job prospects of maybe becoming the manager, and not ever getting girls. Ten years ago was a golden age to be a weird autist on the internet. The only fear you had were outsider trolls, trolls that everyone arguably handled very poorly in hindsight by either deleting everything or by screeching at them Chris Chan style.
But in your own little circle it was a place where you could make friends, bonding over the same likes of weird media. One person I know told me that decades ago in this situation you were essentially a real life nomad in a basement. Now you could find friends easily. It helped that there were internet animators who were also furries like vivziepop, or musicians like Lapfox/Renard who had furry art on their album covers. Nowadays there’s furries and fursuiters on tiktok and nothing draws in impressionable teens and nerds like looking cool online. Join a furry group and you’ll get empty virtual hugs and fake friendships.
But alas, it’s the internet of 2020 and everything is political. Trying to talk to nerds online is harder than talking to girls online. You always get a feeling like you’re walking on eggshells, trying to avoid saying something that’ll result in a block or worse a “callout post”. These callout posts tend to hit with a scary amount of effectiveness, resulting in you losing all your connections and your future. Everyone in the industry that you want to get into has a Twitter account or is overly political and takes part in this behavior as well. Tune into any radio show or TV station and they’re talking about Twitter. My dad doesn’t even post on Twitter and he’s browsing it all day for political news.
Say the wrong thing and you lose your college prospects, your career, or your future of making it big in an industry. It doesn’t matter if it was last week or ten years ago. You have to always toe the party line at all times, and not piss off anyone online or else. Say the magic words, agree with the correct political opinions, consume the right media, and you might be spared. But it doesn’t even always work like that as you can get canceled for talking awkward to women like Nick Robinson was. Or you can agree with all the right political opinions but disagree on one and you’ll wind up with your business ventures at risk like J.K. Rowling did. Or you can be canceled for saying the N word 10 years ago when it was cool to say that to offend people.
In the furry fandom it is even worse. It’s pretty clear who won that political war, and every open furry is either openly far-left or awkwardly staying silent trying to avoid being thrown out of groups, having commissions denied, or shunned by longtime friends. The leftists have successfully branded anyone opposed to the status quo as a “Nazi/fash/chud” or whatever buzzword is big this month and it didn’t help that the alt-furry group was made up of /pol/ rejects and fedposters. I mean hell, the Twitter furries even rewrote the burned furs (a group founded by a black woman against the degeneracy in the fandom) to be a Nazi group.
As political violence ramps up and the overton window shifts from “police need to be watched and held accountable” to “ACAB 1312 FUCK 12 BURN CITIES” it becomes harder for these furries to stay silent on the overwhelming political views in the community. You can’t just be a nerd into wanting to bang talking animals, you have to shout “protect trans kids”, “fuck the police”, “BLM”, and “eid pmurt eid“. If you don’t think kids should be given Lupron or that cities should burn you’re a bigot. I’ve seen some chats turn into straight up fedposting, fantasizing about gulliontines and killing the president or all his supporters. Hey, the facade all had to end at some point right? Who knew that even your dad’s rock playlist would have a song about escapism crashing?
A great example of this is how Lupis Vulpes was canceled. She was a furry (from what I can tell, I don’t follow internet animators much) animator who identified as a Christian. Now Christian furries are truly a minority group, being bullied by both internet trolls who see it as contradictory and furries who have rejected religion in favor of porn. According to what CBN said, her thoughtcrime was refusing to draw the trans flag and later refusing to draw pro-BLM art and give the money to the BLM groups.
Now this is a classic bait tactic used with the Masterpiece Cakeshop which led to “bake the cake bigot” becoming a meme. In that case a gay couple went to a Christian bakery (ignoring all the secular bakeries nearby) and asked for them to make a gay marriage cake. When they declined, it kicked off an iconic legal case after the couple sued. This case dragged on for years even reaching the Supreme Court which ruled it violated the shop’s first amendment rights.
But this is what kicked it off. Suddenly she found her online image tainted by the mob:
“‘They wanted me to earn a bunch of money for the organization as well as advertise for it but it just felt weird and manipulative so I wasn’t going to do it.’ That’s when Arunt’s world suddenly came crashing down. It happened as she was driving to Regent for the fall semester. “My phone started to blow up with messages and alerts from people,” she said. The animation community had quickly turned on her, beginning what’s known as an “official callout,” namely for what it labeled as her “transphobic and homophobic views.” It led to a six-page online document complete with links to screenshots and social media posts detailing her so-called crimes. Multiple videos picked apart what she had done as well as her video response to critics, in which she didn’t directly address their allegations but instead, focused on sharing the Gospel.”
The only big name place that ran to her defense was probably the most boomer place out there, CBN. Yes, that CBN infamous for the 700 Club and Pat Robertson of all things. The same Pat Robertson who became a one man content machine for skeptic blogs and Right Wing Watch. You might notice that the article also doesn’t say she is a furry as well, likely because it’s not as presentable. I mean who cares about some furry, online animator sounds cooler in the same way pre-owned car sounds nicer than used car.
Furries and the woke Twitter crowd have been tearing her down, desperate for another quick fix of 5 minutes of internet fame. She’s lucky she went to a Christian university instead of a secular one that would probably throw her to the wolves. The damage has been done, a wiki has been vandalized and Google is suggesting people look at her callout posts. To the community, she might as well have been a full on Nazi or a business owner shooting in self defense.
She’s not the only furry who has been canceled for not having the right views. Among some furries disavowing your past won’t even save you. Another furry artist named Reagan was a veteran who fell down the Nazi rabbit hole (thanks to PTSD and “you’re a Nazi”) before digging himself out and becoming an Orthodox convert. Despite being ex-nazi and disavowing them with a picture I can’t find in which he was destroying swastikas as a symbolic image, it still tainted his online image to some people who didn’t want to hear his side of the story. Because some of the people defending him were TradCath/Orthodox non-furries and some far-right types are also Orthodox, it meant he was really still a Nazi.
For how much the left loves to talk about deradicalizing Nazis many aren’t doing a good job at it. If anything it means you’re always walking on eggshells because of dumb things you did on the internet in the past. While laws like “right to be forgotten” laws or GDPR deletion policies can help, they won’t help you if someone makes a callout post or ED page/KF thread on you based on your past actions and not what you do today. Furthermore the internet really hates artists who delete everything because they woke up in a bad mood.
In the end this results in people leaving the internet for good and either trying to rebrand or in some extreme cases, even taking their own life. The suicide of Alec Holowka was a high profile affair, with the only people coming to his defense being the same people branded as bigots. Not like the ones who fuel this care, as long as they can pretend they’re doing a noble thing by taking down anymore more successful in life. In that case they even washed their hands of that, taking “mental health breaks” and whining about the trolls instead of reflecting on their actions.
But that’s not the only thing hurting the fandom. It’s also the fact that current events have driven a spike through any escapism group.
Lockdowns and “stay in the basement”
The other thing that has been denting the furry fandom politically isn’t the just toxic cancel atmosphere. It’s the lockdowns. The world has been hit with a scary virus from China that depending on who you ask is either just the flu, a hoax by the NWO, a bioengineered virus made by China/the UN just like in the hit video game Deus Ex, or it will literally destroy your body once you contract it and recover. Symptoms vary widely, there’s no real cure for it, and attempts at controlling it haven’t quite worked out.
Trying to tell the world to stay inside, binge Netflix, pop SSRIs to dehumanize yourself, and drink beer isn’t exactly healthy for one’s mental state. There’s also been flip flopping revolving mask use, and that incident when they put Coronavirus patients in nursing homes. Reactions to this have varied, from people taking off their masks the second they leave a store to fearmongering about how the world is literally going to end and everyone is going to die. Making things worse has been the mixed media messaging, ranging from “it’s just the flu” initially to “you’re fucked” now. There is no vaccine, and people are wary about the side effects a rushed vaccine would have on them.
Furries however have been absolutely losing their shit over this. On one hand, every furry convention is canceled. Conventions are likely going to run into financial issues over this. The same goes with furry meetups. You’d think that in a decentralized fandom you could hold your own, but furries on Twitter and Telegram have been the enforcers to this. Don’t hold a meetup. You’re literally going to spread Gray Death and kill everyone, until the Ambrosia vaccine comes out eventually.
For some furries who get anxious ordering a pizza and never leaving the house, this isn’t an issue. This is their way of life and will be their way of life until they die in their messy apartment or mom’s basement. Despite this it’s clearly taken a toll on their mental health even more than the average person during this pandemic.
Nowadays you don’t need to resort to 2000s trolling tactics to make furries smash their iPhone. Back in the day you might have had to do things like say someone’s fursona is garbage looking, and sometimes this still works. I know someone who posted a comment that someone was wasting art on a badly designed fursona before the character owner had a meltdown and enablers posted comments about how “OH MY GOD THIS FURSONA LOOKS GOOD I’M A CHARACTER DESIGN EXPERT” seething. But nowadays you just need to offer to hold a furry meetup and the entire chat will blow up with rational comments about how you’re going to kill everyone and “I HOPE YOU DIE OF COVID”. As Trump getting it showed, the mask flies off when it happens to people they hate.
This is causing a massive effect on the fandom. For a while meetups and cons were the reason you’d join the fandom. You’d make a fictional generic animal character, join in with the furries, hang out, and get crunk at the raves before passing out in an ambulance with diapers on. But now the top brand of escapism is gone, and you’re stuck in front of Twitter and the latest fad multiplayer games like Among Us. The escapism aspect is dead and the end result is being felt by furries. You might have your hobbies, your livelihood, and your future ruined but at least you still have a pulse right?
Many furries are getting burnt out with the struggle sessions and lack of fun in the furry fandom these days. Take this screencap I received from a Telegram group.
You might think if you joined a local furry group you’d get friends. You might think if you joined a local furry group you’d get to go to some run down laser tag arena, hang out at meets, and have a chance of meeting people in your area as opposed to having to buy a plane ticket or go on a road trip to meet them. For a NEET it sounds like a lifeline. It’s not.
That ship has sailed and so has the era of adding random furries on Steam to talk to them. You’re never going to get that same experience anymore. The fandom for the outcasts and where everything flew has now become a giant struggle session with political talk. Taking out the trash also risks yourself being at the risk of a callout post, do you want to ban the person in your tech chat talking about how hard it was getting tear gassed at some rally or not? This actually happened to a group I ran. It’s not like you’ll find normal people in the fandom, normal people in the fandom lay low while your coworkers only add people they know in real life online.
This climate is everywhere in the fandom now. It takes a few canceled commissions, a few chat group ejections, and a few con bans for standing your ground to ask yourself if it was worth it. While many groups have some people inside trying to save them or stand their ground, the furry fandom isn’t exactly a group worth saving. Furries who get fed up with the fandom tend to move to other creative scenes that produce content that isn’t porn and rebrand themselves as indie comic artists or something.
Just look at the couple behind Dreamkeepers, one of the few furry comics to be discussed outside the fandom. A few years ago the Dreamkeepers crew would show up at furcons in the dealer rooms. After calling out the trash in the fandom they were softly dropped from dealer rooms, so they moved towards the indie comic scene instead. It’s a common myth by outsiders that furries are cash cows, but they’re also the first to drop you if the Twitter mob has you on their radar. Plus being a furry artist is the art version of working at a gas station, but instead of dealing with thieves and “I don’t got my ID on me bro” you deal with furries obsessive about their penis size and color.
This is what’s going to hurt the furry fandom. With a bad reputation, furries becoming the butt of every joke in online fights or another “every single time” group, and their lack of creative output, is there going to be any reason to join the fandom? Remember Renard? He might have helped make the fandom popular with a generation of YouTube Poop makers and other online addicts, but he got canceled before canceling was cool and he’s now just another nobody online. I found a Twitter thread with some fanart and while half of the comments were nostalgic, a few replies were posting the years old callout posts. Maybe things would have been better for him if he didn’t get down with the Tumblr furries, but I think my point stands. In fact vivziepop was canceled as well over minor shit but because she had gotten big enough, her series got picked up.
Let’s just say they beat the virus with a picture perfect, movie ending scenario in which they develop a vaccine that works yearly, millions of people are saved, and it has no side effects. Let’s just say that the authorities declare life can return back to “normal”, mask and social distancing mandates finally expire, and the world can go back to acting like nothing happened. That’s not going to undo all the damage caused, from the cities burnt down to the cons banning everyone. How many people will be allowed to show up at these furry meets and cons with a clean social credit score?
There is no reason to market yourself to the furry fandom or be in it, unless you just enjoy watching trashfires. Politics killed what was left of it, and no fluff piece documentaries will fix this. The scandals might have ruined the fandom to the outsiders but within the fandom this is hurting it for furries. I’d like to make clear that other groups aren’t immune to this, but they tend to be not as severe or have people who aren’t furries in them.
The furry fandom will likely keep drawing in new members, but they’ll all be low quality impressionable zoomers and LGBT trend chasers only into it because the LGBT scene and furry scenes overlap hard. I once got into a fight with a furry when I asked why there weren’t more furries creating content, and he replied that not everyone was a content creator. I then asked what the fandom was about and he said it was some LGBT queer space for anyone.
If that’s the case, what makes furries distinct and what is the point of being around furries? Just market yourself as an indie comic artist influenced by the kids show aesthetic or something already.