New Milford councilman resigns after furor over “furry” activities
NEW MILFORD — Town Council member Scott Chamberlain had never made a secret of his deep involvement in Furry Fandom, a subculture of adults who dress in mascot-like animal costumes, attend role-playing conventions and interact regularly online.
But an uproar ensued last week when a town resident posted on a community Facebook page several screenshots of Chamberlain’s profile from a private website catering to “furries,” many of whom participate in or write about unusual sexual practices. The profile includes a list of Chamberlain’s “loves,” “likes” and “hates,” some sexual in nature, but also said he “tolerates” rape.
In an interview last week, Chamberlain explained his involvement in the “furry” community as a harmless hobby.
“It’s nothing to do with sex; it’s an interest in cartoon animals," said the first-term Democrat, who was up for re-election.
But Mayor David Gronbach, saying elected officials should be held to a “higher standard,” called for Chamberlain’s immediate resignation, and within two hours party officials said he would resign all his town and party positions by Monday morning.
Town Democratic Chairman Peter Mullen said Chamberlain had told him previously that he had written what he called “science fiction adult literature,” but that the Facebook post showed him a side of those activities that shocked him.
“Literature is one thing, but this kind of stuff takes on a whole different level,” Mullen said.
Chamberlain did not respond to a follow-up call and email.
In the interview, Chamberlain said the private site, sofurry.com, requires users to sort topics into four categories — “loves,” “likes,” “tolerates” and “hates” — to manage the content sent to them.
“It’s basically a search feature,” he said.
Chamberlain, whose avatar is a foxlike character named “Gray Muzzle,” said his participation in furry fandom is mostly about appreciating animal characters with human behaviors and features, such as Tony the Tiger and Mickey Mouse.
But many of those commenting on the Facebook post — which has since been removed — said even suggesting that “rape” is tolerable was out of line.
“Anyone is free to pursue any hobby of choice,” one commenter wrote, “however that doesn't mean they can represent me as an elected official and endorse the things that are seemingly endorsed on that page.”