A superintendent for a school in Michigan had to debunk a rumor started by a parent who falsely claimed a school accommodated furries by providing kitty litter for them in the school's restroom.
The furry fandom is a sometimes sexual subculture in which people dress up and act like anthropomorphic animals, often resembling characters in anime and other cartoons.
Michigan Republican Party Co-Chair Meshawn Maddock apparently fell for the fake furry allegations.
She took to Facebook and called for moms to put Republicans in power.
"Kids who identify as ‘furries’ get a litter box in the school bathroom. Parent heroes will TAKE BACK our schools.”
In her post, Maddock shared a video of the Midland Public Schools board meeting during which a concerned parent named Lisa Hansen started the kitty litter rumor after allegedly hearing about it from a student.
Hansen's fury is an example of many other combative Republicans storming nationwide school board meetings protesting "non-existent school curriculum and transgender students’ right to use the restroom during school hours," according to LGBTQ Nation.
"Yesterday, I heard something, and I was stunned," Hansen prefaced.
"And today I’m equally stunned and a little bit upset. Well, not a little bit upset, a lot a bit upset, furious. I would use that word.”
She went on to say the "agenda being pushed" through schools was "nefarious when it comes to some of the activities." One of those "activities" was supposedly brought up by a child inquiring about furries.
Hansen claimed she heard one of the schools in the district provided a litter box in the unisex bathroom for "the students who identify as a cat. I am really disturbed by that."
“I will do some more investigation on that. I know it’s going on nationwide. I know it is. It’s part of the agenda that’s being pushed. I don’t even want to understand it.”
"I'm all for creativity and imagination, but when someone lives in a fantasy world and expects other people to go along with it, I have a problem with that," she added.
You can watch Hansen address her furries concern in the video below. Her speech starts at the 33:00 minute mark.
Midland Public Schools December 2021 Board of Education Meetingyoutu.be
The wacky rumor was mocked online and later amplified by gullible Republicans.
In an email to parents, Superintendent Michael E. Sharrow said that sending the communication debunking the litter box rumor was "unconscionable."
He went on to assert the accusation was completely false.
"However, our Midland PS stakeholders may be confused about a false message/accusation that has resurfaced this week and is gaining traction in the social media realm.”
“Let me be clear in this communication,” Sharrow added. “There is no truth whatsoever to this false statement/accusation! There have never been litter boxes within MPS schools.”
Those who were keen enough to identify the joke mocked Co-Chair Maddock for helping to spread the false rumor.
LGBTQ Nation also noted Michigan GOP officials helped promote former President Donald Trump's “Big Lie," claiming that he won the 2020 election, and urged the insurrection at the start of the pandemic.
A group called Furscience was formed by a group of social scientists to promote a better understanding of the furry fandom.
On their website, the group said there are a lot of negative stereotypes surrounding furries and how the fandom is viewed as a "deviant sexual fetish."
"These inaccurate portrayals, combined with the public’s unfamiliarity with the fandom, make many furries (reasonably) fear discrimination and violence."
"If the fandom is about anything, it’s about friendship and community, which makes the mainstream media’s reduction of the fandom to a fetish insulting and categorically and demonstrably inaccurate."
"Despite a history of bullying and significant social stigma, our research shows that furries benefit from fandom participation and interaction with like-minded others in a recreational environment, which is associated with greater self-esteem and greater life satisfaction."