Furries help push fundraising for Mississippi library after a mayor withheld funding in blackmail attempt to censor books
Gene McGee, the mayor of Ridgeland, a northern suburb of the capital city of Jackson, withheld $110,000 from the Madison County Library System. According to the Mississippi Free Press, the executive indicated he would not release the allocated dollars until the library agreed to purge any “homosexual materials”.
The release of this news had set one particular furry into activist mode. Soatok Dhole, a non-fiction furry writer who covers issues around the fandom, social media, and technology, started a thread on his Twitter account pushing for help from the furry fandom to help bridge the gap in the library’s funding. In it he linked to the library’s fundraiser whose goal was initially a modest $2,500, but has since extended multiple times due to reaching that threshold and beyond.
The library is gathering contributions until February 11th and currently sits at $68,500 at the time of publication. The success of this drive in opposition to the Mayor’s actions was published by Vice. In the article they note that the conflict between the mayor and Soatok became quite personal on social media, with the political leader blocking the furry on Twitter. After the continued backlash from other users, McGee later ended up locking his entire account soon after the release of Vice’s article.
In this fight though, furries do not stand alone. When Soatok emailed the library about helping out directly, they responded that they were grateful for the public interest in helping them bridge the funding gap indicating there was already engagement for help before the inquiry. In addition, one of the non-fur persons who contributed a hundred dollars to this campaign donated under the name Ray Mabus, who served as state governor from 1988 - 1992. Along with the donation he had a simple message: “Don’t give into bigots”.