Bill Maher once called Milo Yiannopoulos the ‘young, gay, alive Christopher Hitchens.’ Now a few years removed from his stint as a Breitbart editor and shunned by polite society for some unorthodox comments about pedophilia, the right-wing provocateur is trying to start a new life among furries — a vibrant community of individuals who are interested in anthropomorphic characters and bestial fetishism.
According to Yiannopoulos’s Telegram, he has registered for a furry convention called Midwest FurFest. The event site explains FurFest is ‘an annual convention which takes place in the west suburbs of Chicago, Ill.…to celebrate the furry fandom, which includes art, literature and performances based around anthropomorphic animals.’
Though it may seem like a bizarre fringe event, the Midwest FurFest Twitter account is followed by presidential candidate and US senator Amy Klobuchar. While Cockburn is unaware of a planned visit, a campaign stop at FurFest could raise the senator’s numbers with the furry voting bloc — something candidate Beto O’Rourke has already tapped into.
Though a Klobuchar appearance is yet to be announced, Yiannopoulos was planning on hosting his own seminar, ‘The Politics of Fur’, at FurFest. Some have accused Yiannopoulos of ‘furvently’ trying to bring attention to himself after his recent admission that he is struggling to keep himself financially afloat…but it’s important to note that he has commissioned his own ‘fursona’:
The Furry Fandom will always be a open and free place to express yourself.
— Furry Raiders (@Furry_Raiders) September 15, 2019
Clearly, Yiannopoulos is taking his furry fandom seriously. Other members of the furry community, though, are not happy with his arrival. Fielding requests to ban Yiannopoulos from the event, the FurFest Twitter account was forced to release this statement:
We have received a number of mentions and support tickets today – we assure all attendees that your safety is of the utmost importance and is not being ignored. We are investigating all concerns being relayed to us.
— Midwest FurFest 🌻 (@FurFest) September 15, 2019
In the responding comments, a rich debate is occurring between members of the furry community.
Don't cave in. This community needs to grow up and stop overreacting. Everyone needs to be on their best behavior, just because he's attending doesn't have to mean we agree with his ideology. Treat him like any other person attending.
— amar (@thisis_verygood) September 15, 2019
You have one job to do guys, ban him for the safety of all your attendees.
If you can't ban this far right troll I'll be refunding my registration
This is the easiest possible stand you'll ever have to take as an organization
— Aedyn 🐺 (@AedynWolff) September 15, 2019
The controversy resulted in Yiannopoulos’s barring from the convention. While he has some supporters in the fandom, Yiannopoulos has been relegated to the status of ‘fursona non grata‘. Cockburn considers this a significant fall from ‘young, gay, alive Christopher Hitchens.’