A few weeks ago, con chairman Samuel Conway wrote a Twitter thread about how a customer was stiffed by a seller in the Dealer's Den at Anthrocon.
OK, I just deleted a long thread where I detailed how an unscrupulous fursuit maker made Anthrocon look bad in the eyes of our friends in Pittsburgh. I intended to demonstrate that the whole "well, that's just how furries do business" affects ALL of us, not just one or two.
— Uncle Kage (@Unclekage) June 18, 2021
Bad business practices have been an ongoing issue in furry fandom. Taking the money and running is not only detrimental from a financial angle; it erodes trust in our fellow fans, and embitters the dreams of getting fursuits and art commissions. Since this frustrating problem has now reached a level where it's occurring within our Dealer's Dens, it also threatens to harm the reputations of the entrepreneurs who call those marketplaces home. If the fandom wants to secure the economic integrity of its spaces, new solutions will need to be developed to protect the honest exchange of goods and services.
Today we go over the harm that these situations cause, the extent and mitigation that furry fandom has committed already, and finally present a baseline of discussion for solutions to bring a sense of security back to the furry buyer.
Since it began in 2015, yiff.party has been a source of ire for artists whose income has been affected by it. The website uses web scraping software to extract files from Patreon, including those meant to be restricted to paid subscribers only, and made them publicly available, for free.
Kotaku interviewed Kadath and other artists about it in 2018. Although DMCA notices were sent, legal action was threatened by publishers like InkedFur, and Patreon promised to go to bat for its users, the site remained unassailed. Now, it’s closed, but not due to pressure from these sources.
Capital City Fur Con has closed any future gatherings after its premiere in January 2020 due to financial mismanagement. Staffers came forward to discuss the issues caused by the chair’s fiscal malfeasance, and guests have reported that honored guests who were promised compensation were left out in the cold.
The greatest grievance, though, is that it is alleged that the charity they were raising money for, the ALS Association, also were not given their money. ALS has gained infamy in the fandom due to the disease that took the late Tony “DogBomb” Barret, and many conventions over the year have been raising money toward research for a cure since.
More information can be seen on Global Furry Television’s coverage on the below video which is transcribed below.
On December 17th, 2018, Further Confusion posted an update to its Code of Conduct rules. The update includes a stipulation that membership can be revoked by an attendee's history of sexually predatory behavior.
For the safety of our attendees, Further Confusion does not allow attendance by those with a history of sexual violence or pedophilia. If you are unsure whether your ability to attend is affected by this rule, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org
Update 10:42PM: This code of conduct has been updated further, details marked in article below
This announcement has been made around the time where pictures of a fursuiter named Growly (aka TORA) have been shared on Twitter with furs stating their frustrations about his presence at Midwest Furfest this year. Tora has been a fur fan since 1999, and is infamous due to having served time in prison over sexual abuse of a minor, being arrested and convicted for these activities in 2001. After serving his sentence, and serving three years probation, he has returned to fandom activities. Suspicion of his behavior around minors continues to this very day as his removal from Fur Affinity in 2009 was prompted by being confronted about his interactions in private note system with minors.
Another arrest has been made on a member of the animal abuse ring brought to light in September. According to Cubanos en Defensa de los Animales (CEDA, or Cubans in Defense of Animals), Rubén Marrero Pernas, using the fandom pseudonyms "Woof" and "Warg" (amongst others) was arrested on November 24, after details of his involvement in the group had been shared on social media. CiberCuba has more details surrounding the story.
Daniel Branton, known in the fandom as Toast the Rabbit and Rainhopper Roo, pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography, in relation to his June 2016 arrest. According to the arrest documents, child pornography was found on his laptop.
Branton was sentenced on November 5th, 2018 to 70 months (5.8 years) in prison, a mandatory mental health assessment, and lifetime probation upon release. Among the conditions of his probation, he must undergo mental health treatment, register as a sex offender, and must not own any sexual images of minors, including fictional content such as drawings. He must stay away from children, and his computer use will be monitored.
In late September, the furry world was rocked by a leak of telegram chat-logs that revealed an organization of those that practiced extreme forms of animal abuse in the real world. On October 25th, 2018, police in Oregon have made the first arrest of a member of this zoosadist ring, Levi “SnakeThing” Simmons. They have been initially charged with sexual assault of an animal, animal abuse in the first degree, and animal neglect in the first degree.
Levi, who went by several pseudonyms in the furry community including 'Nelizar', became infamous soon after this leak. The logs were released to the public by a fellow zoophile who felt their peers had gone too far in their crueler abusive behavior towards animals. While SnakeThing was quickly overshadowed by a more famous individual caught within the ring, furry Youtuber Kero the Wolf, most of the evidence tied to Levi. This was because the leak was centered around his account that the whistle-blower had gained access to and downloaded the data from. It was Levi's own logs that was eventually shared with the internet.
Update 11/1: Furvengers noted on Tuesday 10/30, that Mr. Simmons was released from prison due to apparent statue of limitations on charges and evidence presented at this time. State charges have been revoked.
R.C. Fox (Carl Kirkwood), a fursuiter who was charged for criminal possession of child pornography back in October 2017, committed suicide last week. The news started to spread after posts on Twitter linked him with a news story from the Pennsylvania-based Times Online.
The article described that a body had been found in a vehicle parked on the side of the road in an unpopulated area, that hazardous chemicals had been released within the confines of the car, and that a hazmat team had been dispatched.
This happened before he could be convicted of the charges against him. Carl had plead guilty as part of a plea bargain. However, a source who knew him indicated that he'd regretted this decision:
He already plead guilty [...]. And then, his lawyer found evidence that none of the child-porn rated content was his (network hacking). But in order to appeal, he needed $25,000 and he didn’t have it. He was going to prison until he came up with the money to prove innocence and he just couldn’t bear to do it.
Kenneth C. Fenske, better known in furry circles as LupineFox, has been found not guilty by a jury in a Bucks County court of sexual abuse charges which were widely reported in local media, and linked to the arrest of seven other suspects during 2016 and 2017.
The four day trial concluded after two hours of jury deliberations. LupineFox proclaimed his innocence throughout; unlike David R. Parker (RebelWolf), who plead guilty last August to federal child sex trafficking of the boy concerned, and assisted the prosecution. The defence focused on undermining the 16-year-old boy's testimony, calling it "a train wreck" and claiming that the ultimate goal was a payout in civil court.
Highlighted was the boy's recollection of Fenske taking off a fox costume (with "full long sleeves and pants, a zipper in the back, paw gloves, and a fox head with pointy ears") before the alleged rape – said to have occurred when he was 8, while attending furmeets at Fenske's house dressed as "Tony the Tiger". The builder of LupineFox's fox fursuit Renoir said it was made in 2015.
Multiple reports have been made by furries on social media that cards utilized at ATMs in the Hyatt Regency O'Hare hotel, the main hotel of Midwest Furfest, have had attempts at fraudulent charges in the Chicago area. If you had utilized a card to withdraw money from these machines it is advised to keep an eye for any unusual activities.
Real talk time: If you withdrew money from the ATM @HyattOHare during @midwestfurfest, your card number was likely skimmed. Fraud prevention called yesterday about 2 attempts to withdraw $400 and multiple balance inquiries. Call your bank ASAP! pic.twitter.com/Gq3fGsqr4W
This article was written by someone who worked on the game described.
Update (23 Dec): Crimestrikers has been released.
Crimestrikers, a furry role playing game supplement, is scheduled to be published in November by Spectrum Games.
The game is set on Creaturia, a world of anthropomorphic animals with futuristic technology. The colorful, highly skilled heroes are the best agents of CIPO (Creaturian International Police Organization), who are called into action after the world's most dangerous super-villains escape from the Quarry, a maximum security prison. The Crimestrikers pursue the escapees, including several cunning evildoers who work for the a variety of nefarious groups.
- Outrage - An international crime syndicate whose leader, Vance Coffin, is the Crimestrikers' major enemy.
- PARCH - A terrorist organization that wants to destroy the amphibious humanoid species known as the Hydrerans.
- Emperor Rasavanto - A Hydreran "Warlord of the Seas" who seeks to conquer the surface world.
- The Time Terror Team - Three legendary criminals from Creaturian history brought into the present.
- The Righteous One - A costumed vigilante with sinister motives.
- Steelwing - A bat with cyborg wings who seeks to retake the nation he once ruled as a dictator.
News out of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania from September announced that one Carl R. Rickwood was charged with 20 counts of dissemination of child pornography. It has recently been revealed that this perpetrator was actually a furry by the fandom name of R.C. Fox. A full breakdown of the documentation can be found on a video by Ragehound.
R.C has been a prolific member of the fandom, having his own fursuit since 2014, and also attending and volunteering for multiple conventions. They were also slated to run a disc jockey session at the upcoming Furpocalypse until this news was brought to staff's attention and they indicated they would not be in attendance. They were also featured in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette piece 'Meet the Furries'.
Since the news emerged, R.C.'s social media accounts on Twitter, Fur Affinity, and even YouTube have been removed, renamed, or disabled. As of now no arrest can be confirmed.
The two were found at a rest stop in Columbus, Ohio, where Jones was arrested and charged with first-degree kidnapping, a federal law punishable by "not less than 20 years of imprisonment" when a minor is the victim. Kelo's Fur Affinity account has been suspended; he also has accounts on Inkbunny, Weasyl and SoFurry.
Inman, whose grandparents describe her as "developmentally delayed", was said to have been groomed online by Jones for several weeks according to entries in her diary, and she left a note reading, "by the time you read this I'm gone...or dead".
Normally, a television station reports on the news, not become its top story. The Baltimore Sun and WJZ-TV 13 are reporting that a 25-year-old man from Elkridge, Howard County, Maryland wearing a full-body animal suit (claimed to be a "grey hedgehog onesie" by the station's security guard to WJZ-TV), combat boots and a surgical mask over his face was shot by police at the parking lot of Sinclair Broadcast Group-owned WBFF, Baltimore's Fox 45.
The incident occurred when the suspect first set fire to a car in the parking lot of WBFF with a burning gasoline-soaked rag in the gas tank and afterwards, entered the vestibule of WBFF. When approached by the station's on-duty security guard, he claimed to have information that needed to be shared with the station, and handed over a USB thumb drive containing a rambling manifesto about space and the government, as well as the end of the world, in a video file.
Inhuman Acts: A Collection of Noir is tied together with a framing sequence as Stanley Rivets, private investigator, reviews 13 case files given to him by a mysterious figure.
It's my least favorite narrative in the book as many of these all new stories simply take place on incompatible worlds. Stanley (or his host) is, I imagine, giving the introduction to each story. The introductions are done well enough, but they aren't exactly in the flavor of (nor consistent with) the foreword.
That's OK. You're not really paying for the foreword, nor the introductions. These stories of anthropomorphic noir all stand alone well enough. Some stories are weak in their presentation of the anthropomorphic aspect of the story-telling; by that I mean these stories could too easily be about humans. This doesn't bother some furries.
The best of the collection mix the science fiction, the fantastic, and the crushing atmosphere of dark or darkening worlds to create Ocean Tigrox's vision of furry noir.
Disclaimer: I have a story in this collection.