What events were taking place when the incident started?
There was a DJ set going and a lot of people were at the dance or hanging around the lobby suiting. Saturdays are the main party day, so there were a lot of people out.
How did you find out there was a chlorine incident?
My friends and I were outside the hotel at the local Steak ‘n Shake. When we got back, I wanted to go back to our room and get in my fursuit and head back down to the lobby. We waited for the elevator until someone told us that there was a natural gas leak on floor ten, which was the floor we were staying on. We were a lot more scared since it could cause an explosion. About 15 minutes later, the fire alarms went off and we promptly evacuated and headed to a nearby hotel.
Fanthopology scholar Sean Kleefeld notes that despite the outré nature of the event, most reports were very respectful::
In looking through a lot of these news reports, I noticed several interesting things worth noting. No one seemed to disparage the Furfest attendees. There was a time, very much not long ago, when furries were treated as bizarre sexual deviants who should be mocked and ridiculed at the least. That stigma wasn’t present in what I found. The reports all seemed to note that Furfest was going on at the hotel, but that seemed to be presented mostly as an explanation for why so many people in the pictures had costumes on.
However, Kleefeld did not view the MSNBC report on the incident, which had co-host Mika Brzezinski basically leaving the set in hysterics.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.