More on the Cancellation of the 2017 Rocky Mountain Fur Con

After posting on April 16, 2017 about the cancellation of the 2017 #RockyMountainFurCon (#RMFC), we viewed several YouTube videos on the subject from varying points of view. After going through each of them, we found that one posted by a furry named Roo on his YouTube channel called Rooview provided the most complete & unbiased description of not only the cancellation of RMFC, but also the complex chain of events from multiple directions that lead to its demise.

While the video is over 35 minutes in length, we highly recommend viewing it in its entirety for anyone who wants a much more complete understanding of what lead to the cancellation of RMFC. The thing to remember here is that what lead to the demise of this particular convention could occur at any convention; the type of drama and conflict that destroyed RMFC is not limited to the furry community as we’ve seen similar levels of conflict & drama destroy #costuming & #cosplay groups well outside the furry community. Some of which lead to the destruction of entire #CostumeClub chapters and even one costume club altogether.

Unresolved drama and conflict that is allowed to exponentially spiral out of control is a recipe for disaster in any situation; but when conflicting parties are willing to calmly discuss their differences and be open to accepting compromises, disaster can usually be averted. Sadly, RMFC is an example of the former, not the latter; combined with (in our opinion) poor convention management that:

  1. Failed to adequately address concerns with the furry group named “Furry Raiders” and its founder Foxler Nightfire, who wears a Nazi-like armband as part of his furry costume.
  2. Failed to extricate itself completely from the convicted felon (Kendal Emery, a.k.a. Kahuki,) who had originally founded the convention 10 years earlier and who had been removed from leading it in 2008.
  3. Lost its non-profit status several years earlier,
  4. Allowed Kahuki to send a “cease and desist” letter that cited non-existent laws as a way to intimidate and threaten an individual in another state (Deo) with loss of property, among other things, including being consistent with the anti-government “Sovereign Citizens” movement.

In response, Deo shared the threatening “cease and desist” letter publicly on April 10, 2017, which is what prompted the RMFC management to cancel the convention. The “cease and desist” letter (in our opinion) served only to damage the credibility of the RMFC management because:

  1. If they didn’t know the letter was sent, then there was a complete breakdown in internal communication.
  2. Or, if they did know about the letter, then they should have prevented it from being sent in the first place given that it cited non-existent laws and was highly threatening.

As we said in our original post on April 16, 2017:

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.

Referenced Articles & Videos:

 

2017 Rocky Mountain Fur Con Canceled

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.

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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:

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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.

Costuming Community Drama

Referenced Articles:

#Costuming & #Cosplay 101: Deescalating Troublesome Situations

Troublesome situations can sometimes occur between #costumers & #cosplayers. Quick deescalation & compromise are always the far better options in the long term than allowing the troublesome situations to grow into something far worse. This is especially important in #CostumeClubs.

Leaving a troublesome situation in an unresolved & non-deescalated state greatly increases the likelihood that more troublesome situations may occur in the future because the parties involved are already primed for them.

A series of such unresolved & non-deescalated situations (or even a single one) can lead to long term conflict & drama, which can spread to include more individuals that weren’t part of the original troublesome situation(s) when the additional individuals are motivated to take sides & compelled to defend one side or the other.

Thus, what could have been a far simpler issue to resolve can become extremely difficult (if not impossible) to resolve once a full fledged conflict & drama erupt and additional individuals have allied themselves and by doing so, joined the conflict themselves.

How can one deescalate & potentially resolve a troublesome  issue at the onset?

1. Remain calm. Nothing fans the sparks of a potential conflict better than allowing oneself to become angry. Anger not only reduces a person’s ability to think rationally, it increases the likelihood that statements or actions will occur that antagonize the situation. By remaining calm, however, there’s a far greater chance that the parties involved will choose of their own accord to find a resolution.

2. Control your tone & body language. Building on remaining calm, body language & tone of voice can say more to another person than what’s being said with words. If you appear threatening, you’ll be perceived as being threatening. If you sound angry, you’ll be perceived as being angry. Instead, take a relaxed stance, don’t enter the other person’s personal space and maintain a calm voice. This will help to encourage the other person to do the same & remain calm.

3. Listen. Building on remaining calm, listening to another person’s concerns is often the first step in finding a resolution. Failure to listen eliminates the likelihood that a resolution will ever be found.

4. Accept & acknowledge the other person’s feelings. Accepting & acknowledging how the other person feels not only shows respect for the person, but that you’re not passing judgment on them. Ignoring & not acknowledging how the other person feels will only intensify the negative feelings that are already present.

5. Take responsibility & be willing to apologize. Taking responsibility for one’s own actions and apologizing can go a very long way at ending a troublesome situation. Failing to take responsibility for one’s own actions or, worse, blaming the other party will only make the troublesome situation far worse.

6. Be willing to compromise. If the two parties can’t fully agree to what the other wants, willingness to meet part way so that each party gets at least part of what they want will deescalate a situation. Standing firm & being unwilling to compromise will only lead to more troublesome  (& potentially worse) situations in the future.

7. Look to the future instead of the past. Focusing on the past can make troublesome situations worse. By focusing on the future, you & the other party can focus on problem solving rather than fault-finding. When you create hope, you’ll make yourself far less threatening.

8. Don’t just walk away. Walking away from an unresolved troublesome situation will only make it worse because it leaves the other person frustrated and upset. It also primes both of you for more troublesome situations. Instead, follow the other steps listed above to deescalate the situation.

9. Don’t get involved in other people’s troublesome situations. Involving yourself in someone else’s troublesome situation will only result in you becoming part of it yourself, which not only complicates the situation, it makes it far more likely that the original situation will grow.

Conflict & drama are never worth the damage they create.

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