The El Paso Times appears to have taken down without explanation an article explaining an Internet meme accusing Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke of being a furry.
"Why is 'Beto is a furry' trending after his El Paso rally?" reported the former Texas congressman's local paper Saturday. "Also, what's a furry, and is he one?"
Why is 'Beto is a furry' trending after his El Paso rally? Also, what's a furry, and is he one? https://t.co/nNPm5DipVo
— El Paso Times (@elpasotimes) March 30, 2019
A "furry" is a member of a primarily Internet-based subculture of people who strongly identify with or as a particular animal. The more extreme members of the community go as far as to dress as their preferred animal at conventions by donning a "fursuit."
O'Rourke is jokingly accused of being a furry because he once performed in a punk band dressed in a sheep outfit. As The El Paso Times correctly reported, the most recent uptick in "Beto is a furry" replies to O'Rourke was sparked by a tweet from "political troll" Comfortably Smug.
I wonder how many "Beto is a furry" replies this tweet will get https://t.co/GWSwEihKzf
— Comfortably Smug (@ComfortablySmug) March 30, 2019
But a day after the piece went up, it appears to have been taken down. "Oops! The page you're looking for isn't here," the link now reads. "Either someone gave you a bad link or there's something funky going on. Either way, we're truly sorry for the inconvenience."
Judging by a critical Twitter thread from New York Times editor Erin McCann and a tweet from an actual furry, the piece went dead sometime between 7 and 8 P.M. on Sunday.
— erin mccann | pay for news (@mccanner) March 31, 2019
— erin mccann | pay for news (@mccanner) April 1, 2019
Unfortunately the link tot he story is busted. I ... I really want to know what this article said. Really. https://t.co/kwDyQX8eby
— Rechan Fox (@Rechanmole) March 31, 2019
The El Paso Times did not respond to requests for comment about why the story was taken down, or whether the paper had been contacted by the O'Rourke campaign. Another piece about Twitter reactions to Beto's speech—absent any furry remarks—remains live.
Published under: Beto O'Rourke