Right-wing persona non grata Milo Yiannopoulos announced that he has adopted a “fursona” as a snow leopard and that he purchased tickets to a furry convention; in response, organizers rescinded his event registration.
Yiannopoulos posted an email screenshot to one of the few platforms he has left—his Telegram messaging channel—on Saturday and claimed he registered for Midwest FurFest, a convention “to celebrate the furry fandom” hosted in the suburbs on Chicago this December. “Furries,” as they’re often called, are groups of people who have interest in animal personas with human characteristics; people who participate in the subculture often present themselves as non-human characters via art and costumes.
Yiannopoulos also claimed on Telegram that he had submitted a form to suggest he host a panel called “The Politics of Fur.” He asked his followers who plan to attend Midwest FurFest to message him to arrange “dinner, drinks, photos or anything else.”
After numerous complaints online, Midwest FurFest put out a statement on Twitter: “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.”
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In a statement later provided to Right Wing Watch, organizers wrote that they had rescinded Yiannopoulos’ registration for the event and that he would not be welcome to attend Midwest FurFest or any future event.
“Hate is not welcome at Midwest FurFest. We are dedicated to providing a safe, harassment-free convention experience for all, regardless of age, race, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, or personal beliefs,” organizers wrote. “Midwest FurFest can confirm that Mr. Yiannopoulos has registered for the event this year. While the convention generally does not comment on anyone’s registration status, Mr. Yiannopoulos has already stated as much publicly.”
Organizers continued, “The board of Midwest Furry Fandom, consistent with our posted code of conduct, has rescinded Mr. Yiannopoulos’s registration. He is not welcome to attend this or any future Midwest FurFest event.”
In 2017, The Daily Beast reported that another convention, Rocky Mountain Fur Con, had canceled its events after a controversy involving far-right participants in the furry community stirred discord. At the time, a flash of far-right activity in the furry community had reared its head, but other members of the subculture worked to dampen its reach.
Yiannopoulos was banned from Australia earlier this year “on character grounds” and nearly every social media company has suspended his accounts for violating community guidelines against hate speech. Since losing access to his social media pulpits—and, more importantly, his Mercer family funding—Yiannopoulos has fallen millions of dollars into debt and spent his time almost exclusively blaming his self-inflicted wounds on others.
At Breitbart, Yiannopoulos worked directly with white nationalists and neo-Nazis to launder their racist ideology for a broader conservative audience with the assistance of his ghostwriter Allum Bokhari. Yiannopoulos resigned from Breitbart and lost a book deal in 2017 after a video circulated in which he seemed to defend pedophilia.
This latest episode involving Yiannopoulos resembles a callback to his signature shtick—going out of his way to target people who belong to marginalized communities for harassment and hate. And as it has cost him nearly everything else in his career, it also cost him a ticket to Midwest FurFest.
(This article was updated a 3:50 p.m. to include a statement from the board of Midwest Furry Fandom.)