The 2017 #RockyMountainFurCon has been canceled. The #RMFC board of directors that was organizing the 10th annual event posted a statement this past Monday (April 10, 2017), which we have quoted below:
“The furry community and Rocky Mountain Fur Con have always strived to be a place of inclusion; a place where furs from all walks of life, differing religious, political, social and personal views can come together to celebrate the thing that we have in common, the love of our fandom.
Recently, members of our community have taken it upon themselves to bring in external influences of hate, intolerance, and stubborn refusal to compromise. This movement has grown into a community that promotes violence, and it is because of that, it is with deep regret that I make the following announcement:
Last month, we were faced with a sudden and drastic increase in security costs amounting to more than a third of our entire existing operating budget. This cost increase stemmed directly from the very public threats of violence against one another by members of this community, as well as the negative backlash from misinformation spread about the convention, its staff and attendees. Therefore, Rocky Mountain Fur Con 2017 is officially canceled.”
Sadly, the statement is the only part of the fur con’s website that remains.
While the fur con chairman did not directly mention the group being blamed for this in the cancellation statement, Rolling Stone listed that the source: a group within the furry community calling itself the “Furry Raiders”, which Rolling Stone described as “an outlier group within the anthropomorphic subculture” and whose founder (shown below in his “Foxler Nightfire” furry persona) has chosen to wear a red armband with a black paw print over a white circle.
The armband bears a very strong resemblance to those worn by members of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (otherwise known as Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, or the Nazi Party for short) that was founded by Adolf Hitler and operated in Germany between 1920 and 1945. Various Nazi uniforms included a red armband with the infamous black swastika symbol over a white circle, as illustrated in these Nazi-era uniforms that are located in the Imperial War Museum in London:
While Foxler Nightfire denies any connection between his armband and those worn by members of the Nazi Party (and also worn by many Neo-Nazis today), the only difference between his and actual Nazi armband was his replacement of a black paw print in place of the swastika.
Also according to the Rolling Stone article and one posted by Dogpatch Press, the “Furry Raiders” were being characterized by various online forums as a “neo-nazi cult-like group”. Also, Vice had posted an article earlier in 2017 that members of Colorado’s furry community were fighting neo-Nazis.
Then, while responding to a friend on Twitter, a furry in another state named Deo (who had never attended RMFC) tweeted that neo-Nazis should be punched. According to Deo, this had nothing to do with what was occurring in Colorado or with the “Furry Raiders”, but a member of the “Furry Raiders” read Deo’s tweet and responded by not only threatening to shoot Deo, but appeared to be threatening to bring a gun to the 2017 Rocky Mountain Fur Con itself.
Here’s where things get bad. After Deo reported the threat to Twitter, Twitter deleted the Twitter account belonging to the member of the “Furry Raiders”. She also contacted the RMFC, which we will describe by quoting directly from Rolling Stone:
“In January, Deo reached out to the RMFC board via Twitter and sent an email to their security team to report the threats, she tells Rolling Stone through Twitter. There was no response until April 3rd when she received a letter from Kendal Emery aka Kahuki, a board member of MAAAC and RMFC, who personally sent a cease and desist letter to Deo’s house.”
And who is Kahuki? He’s the original founder and former chairman of the board of directors of the Rocky Mountain Fur Con. But why isn’t he still the RMFC chairman? Apparently, he was removed from the position in 2008 after it was revealed that Kahuki (a.k.a., Kendal Emery) has a felony conviction in 1993 of Criminal Sexual Contact with a Minor. As for the letter that Kahuki sent to Deo, he attempted to make it appear to have been written by an attorney by listing a non-existent law, use of incorrectly spelled Latin and threats against her home. It also contained “dog-whistle” language and a red finger print indicative of a government-known racist group known as “Sovereign Citizens”.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, members of “Sovereign Citizens” believe they “get to decide which laws to obey and which to ignore”, are “rooted in racism and anti-Semitism,” and do “acts of deadly violence”.
In response, Deo not only contacted police in her home state and a Colorado attorney, she went public with the letter on April 10, 2017. This is the day that the RMFC board of directors learned about the letter and chose to cancel the event.
Folks, we can only say this: please leave your personal beliefs and politics out of costuming & cosplay. When it comes to symbolism used in custom costumes, using highly controversial and potentially upsetting political or religious symbolism or something that closely resembles it in a costume is really not a good idea. This is why costume clubs don’t permit politics & religion in their groups. It only leads to problems.
As for what lead to the cancellation of Rocky Mountain Fur Con 2017, you will have to use your own judgement as to who to believe in this complicated situation. Regardless of who is believed, several thousand furries have lost a convention, which is highly unfortunate as it’s not the only furry convention to disappear recently. This is what happens when the negative acts of a few destroy something for the many. As we’ve posted before, there are no winners when it comes to cosplay drama.