I wasn’t planning to write this post. I was planning to write a follow-up to my last post, which went viral on Twitter and garnered over 57,000 impressions. That follow-up is definitely on my to-do list, but I pushed it back a little because I feel that this post is important. It’s also sad, infuriating, and disappointing…but mostly important.
The teddy bear in question is Li’l Deano Bear, pictured above. He’s a sweet British plushie who is very prominent in the plushie community on Twitter. He has a big brother called Deano Bear who lives in Sweden. Every now and then they get together and post adorable pics of their adventures. The Deano Bears are so synonymous with that particular style and color of Jellycat Bear that when my best plushie friend The Teddy’s parents adopted Li’l Deano Bear’s twin, they named him Small Deano Bear.
So I was absolutely stunned when I was checking Dean Winchestbear‘s Twitter timeline and I discovered, via Zombie Jim Morrison, that Li’l Deano Bear’s human is both anti-Semitic (TW/CW) and racist (TW for the uncensored N-word):
Now, Li’l Deano Bear’s account has never mentioned anything like this. It’s always been very positive and seemed inclusive–even going so far as to “like” tweets from Zombie Jim mentioning Shabbat and Chanukah.
Needless to say, Zombie Jim’s openly Jewish humans were shattered after uncovering these tweets. After the initial tweet with these screencaps, Zombie Jim said that his female human was sobbing in another room. I couldn’t blame her. I’m a white gentile and even I felt incredibly betrayed. Another plushie friend did more digging and discovered highly misogynistic and Nazi-sympathizing tweets as well.
The big question I have 1other than how one becomes a garbage person of this magnitude and why the fuck you would broadcast yourself as such is “How the fuck does this same person run an adorably childlike plushie account that seems to love everyone?” Now, I have an incredible amount of respect for humans that run plushie and/or animal social media accounts in a completely different voice from their own, often denoted by dialect and comedic spelling/grammar errors. My favorite go-to example is Magnum the Medical Assistance Dog, who is @magnumwoof on Twitter. I honestly forget that there’s a human behind that account! It’s that good. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen that account break character in the last year and a half.
But what kind of cognitive dissonance must one have to engage in to run a plushie account like Li’l Deano Bear’s with love and hugs for everyone–even, it seems, Zombie Jim, who’s spoken openly of his humans being Jewish–while at the same time running a personal account so full of hate that “Neo-Nazi” is a fair assessment? Honestly, I don’t know how that guy pulls it off. Which begs the question: which part is the act? Is it the sweet, tender plushie account? Or is it, somehow, the racist garbage personal account? Could it be possible to give the personal account the benefit of the doubt? Is there some Neo-Nazi 2I have no problem calling a spade a spade here friend/neighbor/love interest that he’s trying to impress with this hateful garbage?
Because there’s no excuse for that, and I’m not arguing that there is, but God, I don’t want to cancel Li’l Deano Bear forever. I want there to be an explanation that doesn’t involve Li’l Deano’s human being a racist, misogynistic dickwad. I mean, I did it, I turned Li’l Deano and his big brother Deano Bear to unplushies on my social media, but boy, did I feel shitty about it.
It’s hard to cut someone you consider a friend out of your life for political reasons. It’s even harder when you’re cutting out a friend who is not and has never been racist or hateful in any way just because they’re inextricably linked to a racist, hateful shitbag. I have newfound respect for people who cut ties with beloved family members who voted for Tr*mp and understand why so many more refuse to do so. This shit hurts.
And then I have to face the issue of spreading this knowledge to the rest of the plushie community. Do I link this post on Dean Winchestbear’s Twitter or don’t I? Do I start a possible mass unplushieing or don’t I? Am I coward if I don’t? Am I a shitty friend if I do? Do I make myself and my adorable, tender-hearted plushie a target of possible hate and harassment? Or do I turtle up and protect us and take the easy way out? How shitty am I if I choose to stay silent and move on?
These are tough questions for anybody. The fact that it’s a plushie account bringing up these questions makes it even tougher, because Plushie/Anipal Twitter was my happy place up until lunchtime yesterday. It was a world of love and light and innocence and eternal hugs.
At least, I thought it was.
Plushie friends, if you’re reading this, it’s up to you to make your own decision about associating with the Deano Bears, especially Li’l Deano, and their humans. I’m doing what I think is right, and what I can live with. You must do what you think is right, and what you can live with. It’s okay if those things are not the same.
Lots of love and hugs are all I can really offer. So, *hugs*.