How naughty Fursuit allegations led to EMTs getting screwed in one New Jersey town
John Oliver once again shows off his suspiciously furry stylings of comedy in one of his recent segments. In this case, he compared Brussel's EMT siren sound to Mickey getting ‘spin-cycled’, yes a euphemism for intercourse, on a washing machine. He even went so far as to get a motion-tweened animation of the affair. This joke is what he used to bookend his discussion around EMTs, and America’s underfunding and vulture-like privatization of them.
But what the writers of this particular segment may not have been aware of, is that while Mickey getting plowed on a washing machine may seem like a perfect ice breaking non-sequitur to the tragic state the United States' emergency services find themselves in, for furries it’s a bit too real.
In the year 2012, in the town of West Windsor, New Jersey, a seemingly innocent annual gathering of fursuiters supporting a local emergency services group called the Twin W Rescue Squad became targeted by politicians after allegations of indecent acts of a “spin cycle” style were spread through the press.
So thanks to Mr. Oliver, I feel compelled to go over what may be one of the most unfortunate interactions between furries and the political wardens of our country. And how the incident still sends ripples of fear and concern to this very day on the rules of engagement when it comes to fursuiting for organizations in the United States’ Northeast.
The Alleged Incident - That ended a community service
The incident in question occurred during a Memorial Day gathering for the Twin W Rescue Squad that was held in 2012. A site has been maintained that goes over this history of the organization from its founding in 1972, to its ultimate closure in March of 2015. While this site points to staffing issues, probably in attempts to take some kind of high road, an article from NJ.com paints a different picture of the political fallout that occurred following the rumors that spread about two party goers performing inappropriate acts.
In fact, the rumor mongering of furries themselves seemed to be the primary source as presented by the article covering the incident in 2012. Interestingly, the author may have assumed that if furries were talking about it on our sites, that they should account as first hand testimony:
According to posts on the Furaffinity site, the couple’s actions took place in front of many people in the middle of the day, including children.
Of course in our more internet savvy world we know that we can’t treat these statements alluded to as first hand accounts. What was more likely is that these were furs being frustrated and reactionary that once again someone (allegedly) had screwed something up for the rest of us and were just parroting the scandal they heard from their friends, who heard it from some random guy, etcetera..
Since the article doesn’t link directly to the statements or quote them in the article there is no way to discern who they actually came from. They could be from a furry who was a local, a furry spreading rumors, or perhaps some new account saying this in order to plant the seeds against the EMT institution at the behest of those looking to liquidate the Twin W Rescue service. We cannot know for certain.
Unfortunately for our young fandom, it was a kind of attack that we could not have prepared for, as we were still naive in many ways. Even worse, the news and rumors were released over the first weekend of July. Samuel "Uncle Kage" Conway, a furry who has garnered much experience with media interaction over the years, once said during one of his Furries and the Media panels that he wished he were contacted about this so he could have helped handle the situation. However, the truth is that the press released its initial reports of the incident during Anthrocon. Which was at the time the largest furry convention in the world, of which Kage is the Chairman of.
Another odd coincidence, for sure.
A Different Environment
While this may appear obvious in hindsight that there may have been more going on here than meets the eye, it is a bit difficult to describe how different the world of 2012 was compared to society’s views going into the 2020s. But I’ll do my best to try.
First off, furries were much more prone to self-flagellation. The media was neck deep into putting out pieces that painted a stigma on how strange and hedonistic the omnibus of furry was, and furries were more than happy to believe any salacious rumor about bad apples as being entirely based in fact. This in turn is what helped solidify the rumors-as-fact reporting as mentioned in the previous section.
When I got home from Anthrocon 2012 and was discussing it in a locked to the public Livejournal “drama” forum, I was the first to be wary that there was no evidence of the event being accused and that there was something more afoot here. I was told that theory was, and I quote, “retarded” at the time. A word that that particularly forum would years later adopt to be forbidden to use. For the times and sensibilities, they change.
To be fair, it wasn’t like I was some person with great insight at the time, as soon as one person claimed it was two people in gorilla costumes doing it on the car of a township employee, it was a bit easier to be suspicious of all the rumors. Furries may be ridiculous, but even we have some standards. I don’t know any furs that own a gorilla costume, so if that was used, I suspect it was more a guerilla than a furry gorilla.
Social media, in turn, was also much different. There was more of a pro-authority stint to the fandom back then. As an example, 2 the Ranting Gryphon, back in 2008 had to walk back a LiveJournal in which he said “cops are assholes” with a follow up saying “well I didn’t say ALL cops are assholes”. I guess the punchline here is that one’s words in comedy and in life are all about timing, because if he made a LiveJournal like this today after ‘All Cops Are Bastards’ has taken more hold into the social conscious, then it’d just be par for the course and not need a walk-back.
But then again one would use Twitter for that these days, and not Livejournal.
So in this pro-authority stint folks were more likely to believe everything that the police say and be less likely to question it. These days people are more weary of those that the state adorns such powers to. Especially since a sizable chunk of those in the profession have recently decided to adopt a modified version of the U.S. Flag where all the colors have been drained to a blue stripe amongst the black and white stripes of their earliest prisoner’s uniforms. Meaning these cops who adopt this flag openly view the country in its entirety as a prison and them as the wardens, which is symbolized by the blue stripe amongst those prisoners in black and white.
In a world where cops fly banners that say you are either a law enforcement officer or a criminal, it’s far easier to question whether the fursuit intercourse they alleged to the press was even true. Maybe it was just a rumor and people were having harmless fun, and that is not allowed in our current American prison. Especially when the police can see the money going to the EMT services as funds it itself could be receiving instead.
They were just jealous of the EMT’s furry swagger, y'all.
Now the above can be seen as a bit insane, perhaps the police just heard that rumor and then they shared it with the press and the outcome wasn’t planned. That is a very real possibility. Getting the government to defund an organization can be more difficult than just spreading rumors, and can hardly be planned. But what I’m trying to show here is how a more trusted institution in society has transformed into one where people in general are far more weary of anything they say today than in 2012.
Situations like this can cause great anger and frustration that people’s love for costuming and raising funds for good causes can be used against them in the court of public opinion. Especially since sexual predators often become our political leaders in the executive branches, yet the assembly of government itself somehow never gets disbanded as a result.
But instead of letting the anger burn one to the ground it is better to use it as a chance to remember this event and never let it be forgotten. Because now it demands that readers of the media view it with a critical eye.
We all must question when stories like this comes out, especially if it is targeting a group that is not your own. Ask yourself:
- Was there an accusation that a crime occurred in a public venue?
- If so, were there any individuals arrested for the crime?
If there was no arrest made for the alleged crime, and the story seems a bit unbelievable then you need to keep an eye on the venue where the supposed crime occurred. In these circumstances it is very possible that the story is not a factual event, but a seed to sow destruction.
In the case of the Twin W Rescue Squad, it was the very destruction that John Oliver’s segment discussed. Where private profiteering takes advantage of good souls looking out for their fellow denizens, or where governments look to cut costs as much as possible, even if it means leaving those that can’t afford the new privatized services more vulnerable to financially milking a desperate situation.
The Furry BBQ fundraising was an opportunity for those who wish to exploit our emergency services to take advantage of the stereotypes around our fandom to attack and dismantle the EMT service for a competing service to replace them. In the end if there is anything you should take away from this story it is this: if a narrative is made about someone screwing someone illicitly, and no crime is charged, then ask yourself what are those in power trying to acquire, or who are they trying to screw?
Putting this political smell test to paper should protect our communities, furry and non-furry alike, from the predatory individuals amongst us.
Oh, and just in case the rumor was true, be sure to keep such “Belgium spin-cycle siren activities” to your own private laundry room as Mr. Oliver’s e621 inspired staff denotes. That would also help immensely. And if you’re not sure if the rumors are true or not, then treat it with the same silence that you would a SFW artist’s comment section.