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Michigan school board meeting littered with furry conspiracy around cat pan in bathroom

Edited as of 21:14
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On the 20th of December 2021, a school board meeting was held for the Midland Public Schools in Michigan. At this meeting a woman had accused schools around the nation of placing cat litter pans in their gender neutral bathrooms for their “furry” students. A video of this rumor being presented started to go viral among the furry spaces a month later, along with a response from the school board.

The reason for the month's delay to reach traction throughout the internet was that the interaction was shared by the Michigan GOP Co-Chair Meshawn Maddock, on her Facebook account. In her post she seemed to be gung-ho about bringing an end to this cat pan menace. Maddock is currently under investigation over elector schenangans within the state of Michigan during the 2020 Presidential elections.

While the parent in the shared video started with a statement about her opposition to the Test-to-Stay program enacted toward unvaccinated students, the mother found two of her allotted three minutes directed at a statement she heard a child say a few months back about furries, and subsequently, cat pans in the restroom.

The Panned Speech

Below is a transcript of the interaction at the meeting as the parent expressed her concerns:

Concerned Woman: “Hi, Merry Christmas.”

Board Member: “Merry Christmas to you.”

Concerned Woman: I have a speech prepared to read regarding the Test-to-Stay program and how unconstitutional it is. But, I need to address something else— not just to you as the board, but to parents and grandparents and taxpayers in our community.

*sigh*

Still wrapping my brain around this a little bit, but yesterday I heard something— and I was stunned, and today I am equally stunned and a little bit upset— well, not a little bit a lot a bit upset— furious, I would even use that word.

I want to talk— about the fact that— and I know this is going on nation wide so it’s not just for your— for this board, but our community needs to understand that the agenda that is being pushed through our schools is um— just my opinion— but somewhat nefarious when it comes to some of the, um, activities.

So let’s talk about fury— furries.

I was addressed [sic] by a child, a couple of months ago, that they are put in an environment where there are kids that are— that identify as a furry. A cat or a dog, whatever. And so yesterday I heard that at least one of our schools in our town has a— in one of the unisex bathrooms, a litterbox for the kids that identify as cats.

And, um, I am really desturbed by that. And I will do some more investigation on that. I know it’s going on nationwide, I know it is, it’s part of the agenda that’s being pushed I don’t want to understand it. But I think that people need to be aware of it. Because I’m really upset as a parent that my child is put in an environment like that and—

I’m all for creativity and imagination but when someone lives in a fantasy world and expects other people to go along with it, I have a problem with that.

The Board’s Response to the sandy rumor

The Superintendent responded to the viral video and Maddox’s feisty furry post over the rumored cat pan with the following response on the school’s Facebook page.

January 20, 2022

Communication Regarding False Accusation Made at December MPS Board of Education Meeting

Good Afternoon Midland Public Schools Staff, Families and Community Members:

It is unconscionable that this afternoon I am sending this communication, however, our Midland PS stakeholders may be confused about a false message/accusation that has resurfaced this week and is gaining traction in the social media realm.

At the December 20 Board of Education meeting, a community member addressed the Board of Education. During her comments she stated that litter boxes were provided within MPS restrooms for those who identify themselves as “furries”.

Let me be clear in this communication. There is no truth whatsoever to this false statement/accursation! There have never been litter boxes within MPS schools.

It is such a source of disappointment that I felt the necessity to communicate this message to you. In this divisive/contentious world in which we find ourselves, I ask that if you hear wild accusations that don’t sound like something in which your Midland Public Schools Board of Education, Administrations, District would be part, take a moment to send an MPSConnect message to me.

Midland Public Schools’ main emphasis was, is and always will be to educate our community’s children with excellence, integrity and respect.

Educationally yours,
Michael E. Sharrow, Superintendent of Schools
Midland Public Schools

Comments

Your rating: None Average: 3 (3 votes)

As time has gone on I think it's important to have an archieve of these kind of events that are more accessible. There are things that occur on some technology platforms that others cannot see whether by choice of not wanting to support the site or not. This is why I chose the approach to transcribe what was posted on those sites here rather than just linking them in this go around and this will be done when possible in the future.

This prevents time decay of non-working links as well.

All furs should have access to this information, regardless if they have a Facebook account or not.

On the more political side of things, most have interpreted the statement from the parent to be more an attack on gender neutrality by using furries as an inlet. This is why the parent had to emphasis that the alleged cat pan was found within the unisex bathrooms rather than just the washrooms in general.

This is similar to the New Zealand issue discussed this month, the lobbiest group was probably less outraged at the furry article than it was upset tax dollars were going to a group that was doing pieces on indigenous issues.

In that essence it seems that furries are now the rodeo clown of politic. The raging bull of authoritarianism is charging at the society it tossed off in its rage and it seems that it has seen red in the dancing fursuiters. In my opinion, if them coming after us means they leave the direct attacks on those in society alone as it recovers, then that is a role I would personally gladly serve.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

I also note myself impressed by grammar software in word processors by removing the underlining the word "addressed" in her speech when I added the [sic] afterwards.

Your rating: None Average: 2.5 (2 votes)

Now the Texans are getting in on the action. https://www.texasmonthly.com/news-politics/texas-gop-candidate-furries-schools/

Your rating: None Average: 2.5 (2 votes)

Yup and there is another item out where where some right wing radio talking head was accessing that Biden would fill the Supreme Court justice spot with a gender fluid cat person.

At this point I can just do transcriptions of this nonsense for the next few weeks and just ride out anything too investigative. When their spoken words are put to paper, it looks as foolish as they are without any addendums.

Your rating: None Average: 2.7 (3 votes)

...Biden would fill the Supreme Court justice spot with a gender fluid cat person.

And it's about time!

- Joe

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

Please correct: the idiot GOP official is named Meshawn, not Mashawn.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

Corrected, thanks.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

The number of Google Alerts I got for copies of this story over the past week just go to show how derivative news media is.

I thought of putting out a rebuttal, but frankly I see it as a non-story. At least when the dragon fell down the stairs, that actually happened.

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (3 votes)

I saw this mentioned on Twitter. It's so obviously nonsense, I don't see any point in actually addressing it. It's like addressing the tin-hat wearing local crazy when he says a missing person was abducted by aliens. Why can't we leave these sort of stories to The Onion?

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None Average: 2.5 (2 votes)

That's why I didn't address it in the article and just left the words out there for themselves.

The reason I transcribed the situation is because it's an accessibility thing. Many furs probably don't have a Facebook to see these items for themselves and while other furs have covered it on social media, social media is not really a place that is well known for archiving things and items can be disappeared overnight. A item I am bringing forth into 2022 and beyond will be to have the information in this place because I trust it to retain the record more than Twitter or YouTube will.

As far as addressing madness, you can present it or treat it as an invisible stair and work around it. I think given what happened in 2016 and 2021, I don't think walking around it is really an option anymore.

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (2 votes)

I think I remember seeing this on my phone, in that news section that came with it. I forgot about that story...

Real or not, it's funny how embarrassing the ignorance of furry is sometimes. Sure, I guess furry is an identity for some but people who believe they are animals to the point of believing that they are cats physically seems generally rare in this divided fandom, which I don't even know even counts because this thing sounds more like "therian" rather than furry, and even then I don't think every therian person goes that far.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

Now it's just getting silly. Furgonomics this is not.

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (2 votes)

*cough* https://www.flayrah.com/8556/michigan-school-board-meeting-littered-furry-conspi... *cough*

Your rating: None Average: 3 (3 votes)

At this point, you can't trust any news out of Texas until it's been be verified in the gaming media.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

Speaking of Furgonomics, I was thinking if one was going to do a furry pod casts that had guests, you should aim for armless chairs so they can sit side saddle if they wanted to wear their tail.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

(Replying to Sonious) Actually, I think chairs with open space below the back support would be more comfortable.

- Joe

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

The NY Post interviewed me yesterday to get a furry's perspective on the broo-ha-hah:

https://nypost.com/2022/01/27/im-a-real-life-furry-and-my-lifestyle-is-no-litter...

Other than the headline and the ridiculous photo collage, I think it's not bad; hope I made a good case for us.

- Joe

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

I don't know if this is the indirect origin of this parent's paranoia, but there was a case of furry fans using a litter box in their convention hotel room back around 2008 or so. I'd heard rumors, but it was hard to be sure of anything.

(Incidents like this are very difficult to verify historically - the ConFurence elevator spooge, for example. Zhora who used to post on Flayrah was one of the apparent witnesses, but doesn't seem to have discussed it anywhere that I can find. Not helped by someone else claiming there was not one, but two elevator incidents; also not helped by a member of security staff who said they heard something else; and by what looks like a deliberate effort for years afterwards to post dismissals of the story whenever it got mentioned online.)

In this case though, there's at least one credible witness from outside the fandom. Comedian and actress Selena Luna personally encountered upset hotel cleaning staff, and saw a litterbox left in the hallway, at one of the Anthrocon hotels where she was staying during the filming of My Bloody Valentine. It was the first thing she brought up when she was a guest on the Fur What It's Worth podcast. (Season 5, episode 11, from about the 9-minute mark onwards.)

Your rating: None Average: 3.7 (3 votes)

Dogpatch just did an article about the origins of the cat pan rumors by radio shock jocks on his site.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

I'd imagine there's not one incident, or source, or whatever. It's basically a very obvious joke. Variations of it as a story have almost certainly appeared on both furry and anti-furry sites literally millions of times, both by joke thieves and by morons who, bless their hearts, thought they were telling an original joke (do not steal). That's not even counting the near infinite times the joke could be told offline with not even an echo of the polite "uh, ha?" it at most produced to mark its passing.

Furthermore, it is a fairly cheap prank to pull off if you take it offline; neither litter boxes nor kitty litter are very expensive, and it isn't even necessarily malicious. Somebody placed a cat litter box next the toilet in their hotel room, how cute (only later, if at all, realizing this is still a hassle for hotel staff). Of course, some pranksters are probably more likely to go further along with the bit than others, if you catch my drift.

Unfortunately, since furries do a lot of weird shit that isn't a joke, someone could easily miss the joke. Especially if they don't have much of a sense of humor to begin with and/or an agenda that makes them want to believe.

Your rating: None Average: 2 (3 votes)

Since I just did way too much tracing, why not...

The Selene Luna litterbox story on Fur What It's Worth (2016)

8 years after the fact, Selene claimed to be an eyewitness to happenings at the Anthrocon hotel, at the time she was filming My Bloody Valentine (released January 16, 2009.)

That synchs with the 2008 radio joke I traced. The Pittsburgh broadcaster repeated it on a blog, it's hard to pinpoint it to a show, but the context says that's why he told it. The guy said "the best story we heard this week" came from a hotel security guard.

There's also a show from 2007, where another radio guy joked that hotel staff told him they revived furries who suffocated in a furball. Sure they did. ;)

And an Anthrocon co-founder posted on their forum how the "bonafide urban legend" rose from the radio with people always "insisting eyewitness veracity"... "It’s proven to stick with the same tenacity of CSI and Vanity Fair. The inclusion of this in the respective comment thus throws every prior claim into question as well."

Selene Luna's comment matches all that, but what if she actually saw something 8 years earlier? I wouldn't say a burlesque comedy/slasher movie performer from reality shows (with scripted "reality") is lying when she tells entertaining stories. It's just easy for lines to blur in the memory, and entertainers don't have to act like they report sober facts.

There's a choice between believing her 8 years later -- or a con co-founder who wasn't trying to answer current controversy, who posted about it deep on a forum, not for the general public or entertainment.

On Fur What It's Worth, Selene says she "saw with my own eyes": controversy between furries, housekeeping was in uproar about it, litterboxes in the hall, a smackdown in the lobby, and if there were "tootsie rolls" she didn't check -- allegedly.

We know how gossip goes wild in the fandom. If her story is real, how likely is it we can't trace controversy to any furry sources, only widely-heard radio jokes?

It also might be worth saying, consider the source. Selene Luna did naughty burlesque comedy. As a little person, her "best known act" was riffing on the old cartoons where a baby would be a bank robber or have a cigar. She would come out of a baby carriage:

It really tickles me when people are offended. I just thought it was cute and enchanting, but there’s always someone in the audience that doesn’t know how to react to me and I kind of get a rise out of it like I’m punking them.

Her story was told to show host Tugs, a babyfur, who segues from the litterbox story to mentioning diapers... did she play to the room?

Maybe she wouldn't care about that, but I would bet her and Margaret Cho might not have gone on the show if they knew a few things... (I can't speak for them, but have interviewed Margaret.) Like Tugs' affiliation to zoophilia. The Fur What It's Worth theme song maker runs a notorious zoophile podcast that Tugs agreed to appear on. Some furries don't do the fandom any favors when it's a target of exaggeration.

I think calling this a credible witness story would be exaggeration, too.

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About the author

Sonious (Tantroo McNally)read storiescontact (login required)

a project coordinator and Kangaroo from CheektRoowaga, NY, interested in video games, current events, politics, writing and finance