Feral Attraction podcast ends as host faces multiple accusations of abuse
Feral Attraction has been a podcast dedicated to relationship styles, and giving furry fans advice on how to navigate them. The hosts have been Viro the Science Collie and Metriko the red panda. The first episode aired in January 2016, and seems to have ended as of December 2018, after Viro was confronted by a torrent of abuse allegations.
The accusations started with Koji, who had been in a relationship with Viro for five years. He described being steered into major financial debt, creating dependence, along with being emotionally and psychologically manipulated. Afterwards, several more furs came forward to say they'd also been abused by Viro during their younger days in the fandom, and how they'd been coerced:
Soon after these additional stories came out, Viro locked his own Twitter account from the public. The Feral Attraction episode feed was similarly restricted, changing its description to say that the podcast's site was for archival purposes only.
A misleading cause of hiatus
Equipvamp wrote about the podcast in June of 2018, giving an overview of the show. After it was published on Flayrah, however, comments soon came out with speculations that "relationship issues" between the two co-hosts had been causing a break in the show. At the time, there hadn't been a new episode for three months, since March of that year.
Viro responded quickly to the rumors to put out the fire, saying that there weren't any relationship troubles between him and his co-host, since they weren't romantically involved.
"I am not leaving Feral Attraction, and the show's hiatus has nothing to do with a breakup. Metriko and I were never romantically involved. Rather, Metriko chose to leave the show to make time to pursue personal projects, and I simply haven't had time to continue producing episodes while planning a move and completing a professional coaching certification program." [Link]
However, now that the abuse stories have been coming to light, his former podcast partner has also made a statement. Metriko discussed the concerning behavior he had witnessed, and how he had also been misled by Viro. In his full statement, he shows regret for not having acted on his concerns sooner.
"I will say that during my time spent with Koji and Viro, as well as my time doing the show, I observed a lot of behavior that I assumed to be part of a power dynamic that, clearly, was not. I was also misled to believe certain things that are, obviously, not true." [Link]
"The pressures of the show, in conjunction with a realization that I was being misled and gaslit, along with other behaviors by my cohost, caused me to leave last year. I have not spoken publicly about it due to the fact that I did not feel comfortable or safe doing so." [Link]
So despite Viro's claim that he and his co-host were not in a romantic relationship, Metriko's comments give some actual grounding to the rumors that their personal (or platonic) partnership had an issue that caused the break in broadcasts.
Fantasy fetishes or cruel reality?
With this in mind, Viro's F-List page looks like his alleged behavior in the real world may have extended into the character that he played online. His profile reflects using coercive means to assert authority over others, sexually and emotionally:
"Viro the Science Collie is a well-educated and intellectual Dominant who understands the slave heart: Submissives love finally feeling a sense of purpose. They live to serve. Their desires become unimportant. Their hopes and fears become meaningless. They know exactly what they have to do to be happy and to fulfill their purpose, which is to bring a superior male pleasure. Unlike life, submission is a game they can win. If that sounds like you, approach Viro and you may try to earn your way into his service.
Viro is polyamorous and tends to seek new connections with submissive boys who understand the value of good communication, total transparency, respect, and adherence to given protocol, all of which are very important to him. Speak with Viro in full sentences, and use proper punctuation. Demonstrate your care and attention to detail in your messages, or do not expect Viro to be interested.
Viro particularly enjoys mentoring and instructing younger males who crave submission and are looking for a reassuring source of constancy, authority, and emotional security in their lives. Viro's style of dominance is very mental. He does not rely on pain or corporeal punishment to achieve submission, but rather uses pain and physical restraint as a technique to focus attention and to create presence in the moment, if he uses these techniques at all. If you require whips and chains to excite you or to submit, Viro is likely to grow bored with you quickly. Viro enjoys being dominant and aggressive, but he loves to be affectionate and protective towards his submissives as well — think of Viro as an iron fist within a velvet glove (or fursuit paw)."
His list of favorite kinks are also quite wide, including: Younger characters, nonconsensual, adultery, and master/slave. He even created additional tags, which are marked by a target sign. One of these jumps out, and could be seen as evidence that Viro's intentions for Feral Attraction were merely a platform to fulfill his own personal fantasies. Mentoring/Teaching is listed at the very top of his favorite fetishes, and coupled with everything else, it paints a picture similar to the stories of those who interacted with him in the real world.
Of course it's important to note that just because an individual lists such fantasies online doesn't mean they'll engage in them in the real world. This was covered extensively by the DogPatch Press article The Complexities of Problematic Kinks that covers the positive and negative aspects that having such "problematic kinks" can hold for those communities that engage in them.
Mentoring the world to one's own detriment
It's ironic that one of Viro's own stated goals for the podcast - education - is something that helps people confront their abusers. Because as more people learn about non-traditional relationship styles, and as society improves its understanding of different sexualities, stories of abuse will continue to crop up within communities. Not because these different styles are abusive by their own nature, but because people will stop keeping their desires a secret. The taboo aspects that hold their engagement in those fantasies will begin to fade. With the loss of taboo and secrecy, abusers won't be able to use shame, fear, and ostracism against their partners. They'll lose the leverage of blackmail to keep their victims' secrets in the closet.
Those who listened to this podcast were constantly encouraged to be better communicators. That a healthy and happy relationship, no matter its label, stems from that foundation. And it looks like the lessons have worked - though perhaps not in the way Viro originally intended. Hopefully as people are educated more, and as we progress as a society, abuse can be caught earlier. As the fears of being shunned are peeled away, eventually the number of incidents - and the stories that emerge from them - will also decline.