Proud Boys

SOURCE:  Wikipedia, 2020-05-26

  • Named after: "Proud of Your Boy"
  • Formation: 2016; 4 years ago
  • Founder: Gavin McInnes
  • Type: Far-right neo-fascist organization that promotes political violence
  • Region: International
  • Key people: Enrique Tarrio (Chairman)
  • Website:

  • The Proud Boys is a far-right   neo-fascist organization that admits only men as members and promotes political violence. It is based in the United States and has a presence in Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom. The group was started in 2016 by Vice Media co-founder and former commentator Gavin McInnes, taking its name from the song "Proud of Your Boy" from the Disney film Aladdin. Proud Boys emerged as part of the alt-right, but in early 2017, McInnes began distancing himself from the alt-right, saying the alt-right's focus is race while his focus is what he defines as "Western values". This re-branding effort intensified after the Unite the Right Rally.

    The group sees men -- especially white men -- and Western culture as under siege; their views have elements of white genocide conspiracy theory. While the group claims it does not support white supremacist views, its members often participate in racist rallies, events, and organizations. The organization glorifies violence, and members engage in violence at events it attends; the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has called it an "alt-right fight club".

    In late November 2018, a news story which attracted national attention reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) classified the Proud Boys as an extremist group with ties to white nationalism; however, two weeks later, an FBI official, briefing Clark County, Washington law enforcement officials on the group, denied that it was their intent to classify the entire group in this manner, and ascribed the mistake to a misunderstanding. During the briefing, FBI agents suggested the use of various websites for more information, including that of the SPLC. The official said that their intent was to characterize the possible threat from certain members of the group.

    The organization has been described as a hate group by NPR's The Takeaway and the Southern Poverty Law Center. In February 2019, despite having claimed to have broken ties with the group in November 2018, McInnes filed a federal defamation suit against the SPLC over their "hate group" designation, saying that it was untrue and had damaged his career. Shortly after McInnes filed the suit, the Canadian far-right media group The Rebel Media  [now Rebel News], for whom McInnes had previously been a contributor, announced that they had re-hired him.


    Gavin McInnes co-founded Vice magazine in 1994 but was pushed out in 2008 after several years of turmoil following a New York Times interview in which he talked about his pride in being white. After leaving, he began "doggedly hacking a jagged but unrelenting path to the far-right fringes of American culture", according to a 2017 profile in the Canadian Globe and Mail.

    The Proud Boys organization was launched in September 2016, on the website of Taki's Magazine, a far-right publication for which Richard Spencer was Executive Editor. It existed informally before then as a group centered around McInnes, and the first gathering of the Brooklyn chapter in July 2016 resulted in a brawl in the bar where they met. The name is derived from the song "Proud of Your Boy" used in the soundtrack of the Disney film version of Aladdin (1992), which had become a running theme on McInnes' podcast hosted by Anthony Cumia's Compound Media. McInnes had heard the song at a children's talent show in December 2015 and took immediate dislike to the perceived "fake, humble, and self-serving" nature of the lyrics.

    The organization has been described as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and NPR's The Takeaway, and Spencer, McInnes, and the Proud Boys have been described as hipster racists by Vox Media, and Media Matters for America. McInnes says victim mentality of women and other historically oppressed groups is unhealthy: "There is an incentive to be a victim. It is cool to be a victim." He sees white men and Western culture as "under siege" and described criticism of his ideas as "victim blaming". Their views have elements of the white genocide conspiracy theory. The group is part of the "alt lite" and it is "overtly Islamophobic".

    In early 2017, McInnes began to distance himself from the alt-right, saying their focus is race and his focus is what he calls "Western values"; the rebranding effort intensified after the Unite the Right Rally. In 2018, McInnes was saying that the Proud Boys were part of the "new right".

    The organization glorifies political violence against leftists, re-enacting political assassinations, wearing shirts that praise Augusto Pinochet's murders of leftists, and participating directly in political violence. McInnes has said "I want violence, I want punching in the face. I'm disappointed in Trump supporters for not punching enough." He stated, "We don't start fights [...] but we will finish them." Heidi Beirich, the Intelligence Project director for the Southern Poverty Law Center, said that this form of intentional aggression was not common among far-right groups in the past; she said: "'We're going to show up and we're intending to get in fights,' that's a new thing." In August 2018, Twitter shut down the official account for the group, as well as McInnes' account, under its policy prohibiting violent extremist groups; at the time, the group's profile photo was a member punching a counter-protester. In late November 2018, it was reported, based on an internal memo of the Clark County, Washington Sheriff's Office, that the FBI had classified the Proud Boys as an extremist group with ties to white nationalism. Two weeks later, however, the Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Oregon office denied that the FBI made such designations, ascribing the error by the Sheriff's Office to a confusion over the FBI designating the group as such, as a designation made by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and other outside agencies.

    The organization is opposed to feminism and promotes gender stereotypes in which women are subservient to men. The organization has a female-member-only auxiliary wing named "Proud Boys' Girls" that supports the same ideology. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) states that McInnes and the Proud Boys are misogynistic and states that they call women "lazy" and "less ambitious" than men (and "venerate the housewife"); McInnes has called for "enforced monogamy" and criticized feminism as "a cancer".

    Some men who are not white have joined the Proud Boys, drawn by the organization's advocacy for men, anti-immigrant stance, and embrace of violence. The ADL states that the Proud Boys' "extreme, provocative tactics -- coupled with overt or implicit racism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and misogyny and the fact that the group is so decentralized, inconsistent, and spread out -- suggest the group should be a significant cause for concern".


    The Proud Boys say they have an initiation process that has four stages and includes hazing. The first stage is a loyalty oath, on the order of "I'm a proud Western chauvinist, I refuse to apologize for creating the modern world"; the second is getting punched until the person recites pop culture trivia, such as the names of five breakfast cereals; the third is getting a tattoo and agreeing to not masturbate; and the fourth is getting into a major fight "for the cause."

    The Proud Boys have adopted a black Fred Perry polo shirt with yellow piping as their unofficial uniform. Fred Perry was previously associated with the Mod subculture and skinhead groups, including the British National Front. Fred Perry's CEO John Flynn denounced the affiliation with the Proud Boys in a statement to CBC Radio, saying "We don't support the ideals or the group that you speak of. It is counter to our beliefs and the people we work with."

    Women and transgender men are not allowed in the organization  [transphobia].

    The Proud Boys discourages its members from masturbating and watching pornography so as to motivate them to get "off the couch" and meet women. McInnes added no masturbation to the group's core ideas after interacting with Dante Nero, a relationship expert and comedian with a podcast on Riotcast, who came to serve as a sort of "pope" for this idea within the organization.


    Gavin Miles McInnes

  • Source for the following: Wikipedia, Gavin McInnes, 2022-03-08.

  • Gavin Miles McInnes (born 17 July 1970) is a Canadian writer, podcaster, and far-right   political commentator. McInnes is the host of the podcast Get Off My Lawn, on the online video platform   Censored.TV - which Innes founded. Innes co-founded Vice  [Vice Media] in 1994 at the age of 24, and relocated to the United States in 2001. In more recent years, Innes has drawn attention for his far-right political activism and his role as the founder of the Proud Boys  [Proud Boys] - an American far-right   neofascist organization designated as a terrorist group in Canada. Gavin McInnes has been accused of promoting violence against political opponents, but has claimed that he only has supported political violence in self-defense, and that he is not far-right or a supporter of fascism.

    Born to Scottish parents in Hitchin,   Hertfordshire, England, Gavin McInnes immigrated to Canada as a child. Innes graduated from Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario before moving to Montreal, Quebec and co-founding Vice with Suroosh Alvi and Shane Smith. Innes relocated with Vice Media to New York City in 2001.

    During his time at Vice, Gavin McInnes was called a leading figure in the New York hipster subculture. After leaving Vice in 2008, McInnes became increasingly known for his far-right political views. Innes is the founder of the Proud Boys, a neo-fascistmen's rights and male-only organisation classified as a "general hate" organization by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Innes has rejected this classification, claiming that the group is "not an extremist group and not have ties with white nationalists". Innes holds both Canadian and British citizenship and lives in Larchmont, New York.

    In 2018, Gavin McInnes was fired from Blaze Media, and was banned from TwitterFacebook, and Instagram for violating terms of use related to promoting violent extremist groups and hate speech. In June 2020, McInnes' YouTube account was suspended for violating YouTube's policies concerning hate speech, posting content that was "glorifying inciting violence against another person or group of people."

    Gavin McInnes founded the group and served as its leader. In November 2018, shortly after news broke that the FBI had classified the Proud Boys as an extremist group with ties to white nationalists -- a claim later disavowed by an FBI official, who said they only intended to characterize the potential threat from some members of the group -- McInnes said that his lawyers had advised him that quitting might help the nine members being prosecuted for the incidents in October. During the announcement he defended the group, attacked the reporting about it, said white nationalists don't exist, and at times he said things that made it appear he was not quitting, such as "this is 100% a legal gesture, and it is 100% about alleviating sentencing", and said it was a "stepping down gesture, in quotation marks".

    Henry "Enrique" Tarrio

    As of November 2018, the group said its leaders were Henry "Enrique" Tarrio, designated as "chairman", and the "Elder Chapter", which consists of Harry Fox, Heath Hair, Patrick William Roberts, Joshua Hall, Timothy Kelly, Luke Rofhling and Rufio Panman. Jason Lee Van Dyke, who was the organization's lawyer at the time, had been briefly named as chairman to replace Gavin McInnes when he left the group, but the organization announced on November 30 that Van Dyke was no longer associated with the group in any capacity, although his law firm still holds Proud Boys trademarks and is the registered agent for two of the group's chapters. In December 2018, arrest warrant was issued for Van Dyke over his death threat to a person he previously sued.

    Although McInnes had earlier said that any Proud Boy member who was known to have attended the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017 was kicked out of the organization, the new chairman, Enrique Tarrio, admits to having attended the event.


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    Disruption of Halifax Indigenous Peoples' Protest

  • Main article: Edward Cornwallis Statue protests
  • On July 1, 2017, five Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members who self-identified as Proud Boys disrupted a protest organized by indigenous activists, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, at a statue of Edward Cornwallis, the first Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia. Indigenous activists had previously protested at the site and called for the removal of the statue because of Cornwallis's actions against Natives, including ordering a bounty for scalps of Mi'kmaq people. The Proud Boys carried the Canadian Red Ensign flag from the time of Cornwallis and one of them said to the indigenous protesters, "You are recognising your heritage and so are we."

    General Jonathan Vance, the head of the CAF, announced an investigation, Rear Admiral John Newton, Commander of the Maritime Fleet of the Royal Canadian Navy, was "personally horrified" by the incident and said the Proud Boys were "clearly a white supremacist group and we fundamentally stand opposed to any of their values." The CAF's investigation concluded by August 2017, Later that month, Newton announced the CAF had taken "appropriate measures to address individual shortcomings" and that four of the members had returned to duty, warning, "Any further inappropriate behavior could result in their termination from the Canadian Armed Forces." In 2018, the statue was removed from the site by the City of Halifax.

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    Additional Reading

  • [, 2022-03-08] Leader of Proud Boys extremist group, Henry "Enrique" Tarrio, arrested over 2021-01-06 attack on U.S. Capitol.  Meanwhile, federal prosecutors win conviction on all counts in first trial for a rioter since the attack.

  • [, 2022-03-08] Enrique Tarrio, who led the Proud Boys, is arrested over the U.S. Capitol attack.

  • [, 2020-10-06]  Dealing With Its Own Extremism Scandals, Canadian Military Trolls Proud Boys.  Some critics say the Canadian Armed Forces have been too lenient on members holding far-right views.

  • [, 2020-10-05]  Proud Boys: Far-right group becomes LGBT trend online.  Members of the LGBT community have been making #ProudBoys trend on social media by posting images of gay pride and pictures of themselves with loved ones.

  • [2020-05-26]  Chicago Police Are Investigating an Officer Accused of Being a Proud Boy

  • [2017-07-04]  Who are the "Proud Boys" who disrupted an Indigenous event on Canada Day?

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