South by Southwest is a week long bacchanal gathering for bands, music writers, start-up bros, tech geeks, movie makers and critics. Essentially, the world's worst people gather in the same place to talk about stuff and get obliterated. Is that the right atmosphere for a cat, let alone a grumpy one?
Mashable, and to a lesser extent Friskies cat food, have drawn the ire of the internet for bringing the real, live Grumpy Cat down to Austin, Texas for this week's festival. Of course, Grumpy Cat's real name is "Tardar Sauce," but the internet knows the feline mostly for her signature facial expression. She's a Buzzfeed favorite. Grumpy Cat is a meme, see, and that's why Mashable is letting people pose for pictures with her. You, too, can look grumpy next to Grumpy Cat. By all accounts, she's is receiving excellent treatment while at the festival, but that's not stopping detractors from taking Mashable to task for hosing a pet in the middle of all the booze and madness.
AllThingsD's Mike Isaac started the #FreeGrumpyCat movement. He does not think the booze-soaked festival lifestyle is any place for a pet, revered by the internet or not:
I’m not cool with it. If I were a grumpy cat, the absolute last place I’d want to be is stuck in the middle of a 24-hour party for days on end, where throngs of drunk partygoers waited for a chance to take a picture with me. God knows I have a hard enough time being around them as a human capable of rational thought. Who knows what it’s like for that poor cat.
Since Isaac's post went up this morning, tens of people have joined him. The calls on Twitter for Mashable to release the poor kitty from their horrible booth slavery. This is real, folks. The people want Grumpy Cat's freedom and they're not going anywhere until they get it:
Booth babes aspire to the level of empathy currently reserved for Grumpy Cat. #freegrumpycat— Dave Zatz (@davezatz) March 9, 2013
I love #GrumpyCat as much as the next person but is it not a bit mean making a living creature pose for photos with 600 individuals?— Holly Brockwell (@hollybrocks) March 9, 2013
The #FreeGrumpyCat movement doesn't care that you think it's hilarious to get your picture taken next to a cat. You can do that with McKayla Maroney if you really want to stand next to a meme. At the end of the day, propping her up on a pedestal is disgusting exploitation that we shouldn't stand for. Mashable, you've got a revolution to answer to.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.