Hello there! Long time no see.
I figured it was time to kind of put out my two cents on some things that have been happening in the fandom itself, and what I think this all may mean for the industry going forward. As a maker myself it has been an absolute roller coaster navigating things mid-COVID, and it will be interesting to see how quickly things will recover once conventions return in the fall.
First and foremost, I'd like to acknowledge the elephant in the room, or in this case, a certain industry professional who has been lambasted all over the internet for personal and ethical reasons.
While my company, Liquid Sunshine Designs does not condone any of the actions this individual is purported to have committed, we are also a business and must maintain that there is some degree of separation between the artist and the artwork.
Therefore I believe it is completely up to you whether or not to patronize a maker who has committed questionable behaviors in the past, and may still be doing so. Whether or not they are remorseful doesn't really have much say in this, since the behaviors have already been committed, and if you morally cannot condone them for doing such things, whether or not they apologize doesn't really change anything.
I have more of a problem with individuals purposefully ruining the experiences of others who are otherwise excited for a certain experience, and are told they will automatically be hated and loathed in a community known for it's acceptance. Information on the internet is a sieve, and it doesn't reach all corners of the world as quickly as you'd think. Individuals in other countries notably don't always know what's going on in America, although it may seem this way.
Basically, my point is that you can cancel a maker, but don't ruin the experience for clients who either didn't know, or had their heart set on a certain experience. Don't condone their actions, don't purchase from them, but this trend of ostracizing and demonizing mere clients who just wanted to look like a cute animal is honestly where I draw the line. This fandom is for everyone to enjoy, and while I get the call-out culture and purging of problematic individuals is something our society needed as a whole, I also don't think it needs to extend so far outside of the problematic person's scope.
Walmart is problematic. People still shop there. A lot of people don't have a choice, or weight the pros and cons and find the pros outweigh the cons for them. We in this fandom have the luxury of shopping around and finding alternative artists, which is great! I highly encourage it. But don't judge a person merely for their choice in supporting someone you personally wouldn't.
There are millions of people in this world, and millions of opinions and moral standings. We're different, but we're all human and we all need people on our side who believe in us, especially after we put so much of ourselves into our work. Yes, punishment may be necessary if problematic behaviors occur, but leave the free market out of it.
I also acknowledge the system that is expected to dole out such legal punishment is intrinsically flawed, and biased towards those with the funds to make things go in their favor. This is also extremely problematic. But trying to take things in your own hands and dole out social justice is JUST as problematic if not moreso. You're not the law, you're not a higher entity with the privilege of issuing judgement on anyone.
Long story short. I do not condone the actions taken by this maker in particular, I never supported them in the past personally and do not plan on doing so in the future, but I do not plan on warning anyone away from purchasing from them. If the topic comes up, and they express interest, I will merely check to see if they are informed of the issue at hand, and if they are, move on or change topics. I try not to see people differently just based off of what maker they like, because it's a shallow thing to judge off of, in my personal opinion.
I know hate garners so much more attention and clout these days than love, but don't let that be your determining factor in creating your own content. More eyes does not always mean better eyes.
And with that, I wish you all the best in determining for yourselves how to navigate this issue. I like to believe there's hope for us yet.
~Elbi, Liquid Sunshine Designs