Netherland: Reflecting on furries in Fort Collins

Henry Netherland

Editor’s note: As part of a media transparency initiative, on Aug. 20, 2018, The Collegian spent the first day of publishing of the year telling our readers about us. You can read more about the people behind our publication in the Editor’s Blog.

As someone who uses the internet frequently, perhaps an unhealthy amount, the ‘furry’ community has always fascinated me in that it seemed like such a niche interest. It still manages to garner a noticeably large online following as well as occasional mainstream media coverage. So one day I asked myself: How common is this community, really?

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The furry fandom is a subculture interested in fictional anthropomorphic animal characters with human personalities and characteristics.

As a reporter, my first task was to see if there was even an active community within the Fort Collins area. I went onto Reddit and searched the Fort Collins subreddit. I blatantly asked the thread if anyone was, or knew someone who considered themselves a furry.

After a while, I garnered enough responses to get a semi-objective idea of the current state of the culture. It seemed there was more activity in the community than I originally expected.

As I conducted more research, I discovered one of the most controversial figures in all of the national community actually resided in Fort Collins. His name was Lee Miller, who also went by his “fursona” Foxler Nightfire. He had been featured in a series of bizarrely titled articles featured on Rolling Stone and Vice.

These articles had linked Miller to having connections with the Nazi Party. Further research showed him being accused of bestiality as well as child grooming. In the articles featuring him, I felt like I did not get satisfying responses or explanations to the pretty heinous accusations levied against Foxler, so I decided to reach out to him myself to get answers.

Contacting Foxler was difficult at first because it was hard to tell which social media platform he was active on the most. Eventually, I was able to acquire his email through one of his friends. After some email exchanges, he agreed to meet me for an interview.

The original investigative piece published on April 30, 2018 can be found here.

On a Monday night, he met me at an Old Town business in his complete fursuit to discuss the culture and the accusations. The interview lasted a little more than an hour. In that time, we discussed the many aspects of the Colorado furry community. As for the allegations he explained in great detail his side of each of the situations.

The reaction to the article’s print publication was fairly positive with the article becoming one of our more popular/controversial releases of the year. The online version was a different situation with many criticizing the portrayal of Foxler, saying the piece was defending him. Much of the additional information sent towards the Collegian that day felt unverifiable aside from an old tweet of Foxler that was published later in the day.

Collegian reporter Henry Netherland can be reached at entertainment@.com or on Twitter @NetherlandHenry.