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Proud Boys

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Rebuilding the Reich, one meme at a time

Proud Boys is a far right extremist group with ties to white nationalism and a history of misogyny and glorifying violence.[1][2]

Founder Gavin McInnes announced the Proud Boys on Taki's Magazine,[3] an alt-right publication. Numerous members of the Proud Boys are alt-right.[4] McInnes hosts alt-right guests on his shows, like Holocaust-denying Baked Alaska.[5] And Neo-Nazi podcaster The Right Stuff lauds McInnes for recruiting people to the far right.[6][7] However, McInnes fiercely asserts that the Proud Boys are not alt-right[8] — and they were willing to sue the Baltimore City Paper to prevent them from using the term.[9]

Some high-profile Proud Boys include Roger Stone (a Second Degree member[10]) and Lucian WintrichWikipedia of Gateway Pundit.


McInnes frequently asserts that the Proud Boys are nonviolent. For example, McInnes wrote that "We don’t start fights but we will finish them. The violence you see in the media is us defending ourselves from lunatics who want us dead for no discernible reason."[8] However, as Rewire News notes, McInnes has a preoccupation with violence and often justifies it:[11]

The other striking thing one learns from watching hours of McInnes on his show is that he has a fascination with violence that permeates much of his material. [....] "Violence solves everything," he said on a recent episode. [....] He tells stories about his own violent fights and recently interviewed a New York Proud Boy named Jovi Val who was left with a slashed cheek and a broken nose after a scuffle over his "Make America Great Again" hat turned into a bar brawl, and who, during the show, removed the bandages from his face, revealing a gash above the lip still oozing with blood. On many episodes of his show, he congratulated Proud Boys for being involved in street violence. Earlier this year, he added a "fourth degree" of Proud Boy membership, reserved for those men who "had an extreme conflict based on the cause", as McInnes explained on a recent episode of his show.

In practice, the Proud Boys have gained infamy mostly from their violent stunts. For example, Proud Boy Kyle Chapman became infamous as "Based Stickman" for a video of him breaking a wooden stick over the head of an antifascist activist.[7] McInnes himself proudly announced that Chapman had founded the "Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights", which he described as the "military division of [the] Proud[ ]Boys".[12] The Proud Boys gained headlines when they acted as the "security" force for white nationalist Lauren Southern in the "Battle of Berkeley".[11] Afterwards, the official Proud Boys Twitter account wrote that Southern had been "protected by TheProud Boys today" and that "hearing her say 'they (antifa) can’t get to me, I’m with the guys' felt great".

On August 10, 2018, McInnes' Twitter account and the Proud Boys' Twitter account were suspended by Twitter per their rules on violent extremist groups.[13][14]


We will kill you. That’s the Proud Boys in a nutshell. We will kill you.
—Gavin McInnes, 2016[15][16]

In January 2019, Tusitala "Tiny" Toese, a Samoan-American member of Proud Boys and Patriot Prayer, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge from a 2018 brawl in Portland, Oregon.[17]

On August 19, 2019, Proud Boys Maxwell Hare and John Kinsman were convicted of "attempted gang assault, attempted assault and riot" outside a speech by McInnes at the Metropolitan Republican Club in New York City.[18][19] During the trial, McInnes was referred to by prosecutors as a hatemonger.[19] A total of 10 Proud Boys had been arrested who were at the event, 7 of pleaded guilty to charges of "riot, disorderly conduct and attempted assault", and one other is awaiting trial.[19]

In 2019, Buckey Wolfe, a Proud Boy and QAnon follower, allegedly killed his brother with a sword because he thought he was a lizard.

In August 2020, Proud Boy Travis Taylor allegedly attacked and broke the finger of a journalist (Robert Evans, @iwriteOK).[20]

In September 2020, Proud Boy Alan James Swinney was charged with mutltiple counts of assualt, "pointing a firearm at another, unlawful use of a weapon and unlawful use of tear gas, stun gun or mace."[21]

Proud hazing[edit]

Second Degree: You must get the crap beaten out of you by at least five guys until you can name five breakfast cereals. If you hammer out, “Chex, Cheerios, Rice Krispies, Corn Flakes, and Special K” in a matter of seconds, you’re free to go. If you get flummoxed by the punches and cannot think straight, well, sorry, you’re going to get pounded.[3]

2020 Presidential Debate shout-out[edit]

In a 2020 presidential debate Donald Trump implicitly endorsed their violence by saying, "Proud Boys: Stand back and stand by."[22]

Name hijack[edit]

After the first 2020 US presidential debate, President Donald Trump told the Proud Boys to "Stand back and Stand by"[23]. In response, the media generally condemned Trumps remarks. On social media however, the concept to hijack the tag "Proud Boys" took off, resulting in various hashtags related to the Proud Boys getting hijacked by gay men[24], calling themselves the "real Proud Boys". Notable participants include the official Twitter account of the Canadian Armed forces in the US[25]. In response, the leader of the Proud Boys called it "hysterical" and said that he "didn't care who people sleep with"[24], appearing to miss the point of hijacking the name.



  1. Proud Boys, Southern Poverty Law Center.

    Their disavowals of bigotry are belied by their actions: rank-and-file Proud Boys and leaders regularly spout white nationalist memes and maintain affiliations with known extremists. They are known for anti-Muslim and misogynistic rhetoric.

  2. Jason Wilson, FBI now classifies far-right Proud Boys as 'extremist group', documents say. The Guardian, 19 November 2018.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Introducing: The Proud Boys
  4. The fratty Proud Boys are the alt right's weirdest new phenomenon
  5. Facebook
  6. The Daily Shoah 150
  7. 7.0 7.1 Do You Want Bigots, Gavin? Because This Is How You Get Bigots
  8. 8.0 8.1 WE ARE NOT ALT-RIGHT
  9. Proud Boy lawyer demands alt-weeklies not call "western chauvinist fraternity" alt-right
  10. Roger Stone 1st Degree
  11. 11.0 11.1 How Hate Goes ‘Mainstream’: Gavin McInnes and the Proud Boys
  12. Twitter
  13. Twitter Suspends Proud Boys And Founder Gavin McInnes Accounts Ahead Of Unite The Right Rally
  14. Twitter Shuts Down Accounts of Vice Co-Founder Gavin McInnes, Proud Boys Ahead of ‘Unite the Right’ Rally
  15. Trump mentioned the Proud Boys, but who are they? “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by,” President Donald Trump said at Tuesday’s presidential debate when asked if he would condemn white supremacists groups. by Jeff Parrott (Sep 30, 2020, 2:50pm MDT) Deseret News.
  16. RWW News: Gavin McInnes' History of Violent Rhetoric by RWW Blog (Oct 15, 2018) YouTube.
  17. Clark County Proud Boy, former Patriot Prayer brawler Tusitala ‘Tiny’ Toese arrested in Washington by Eder Campuzano (Updated Aug 29, 2020; Posted Aug 29, 2020) The Oregonian.
  18. Republicans Are Adopting the Proud Boys: Before and after the Manhattan brawl, GOP figures defended and promoted the far-right group. It’s a valuable and dangerous bridge between fascism and mainstream politics. by Kelly Weill & Will Sommer (Updated 10.17.18 10:57AM ET / Published 10.16.18 4:43AM ET) Daily Beast.
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 Two Members of Proud Boys Convicted in Brawl Near Republican Club: The charges resulted from an altercation with anti-fascists after the group’s founder, Gavin McInnes, had spoken in Manhattan. by Colin Moynihan (Aug. 19, 2019) The New York Times.
  20. The man who attacked @iwriteok and broke his finger on Saturday is Travis Taylor, a Proud Boy previously identified by @TorchAntifa. https://torchantifa.org/dox-all-your-boys-part-6/ … See a comparison below between his face and tattoos between 2018 and this weekend. by @bellingcat (5:30 AM · Aug 25, 2020) Twitter (archived from August 30, 2020).
  21. Police arrest far-right protester who pointed gun at Portland rally by Conrad Wilson (Sept. 30, 2020 8:27 a.m.) Oregon Public Broadcasting.
  22. Only the Proud Boys can take pride in Trump’s debate hooliganism by Dana Milbank (September 29, 2020 at 8:57 p.m. PDT) The Washington Post.
  23. Trump’s Proud Boys “Stand By” Debate Moment Is Snowballing by Caleb Ecarma (Sept. 30, 2020) Vanity Fair
  24. 24.0 24.1 Gay men have taken over the Proud Boys Twitter hashtag, by Alaa Elassar (Oct. 4th, 2020) CNN
  25. Our #ProudBoys Love is Love ❤️🇨🇦🏳️‍🌈 by @RoyalCanNavy (Oct. 4th, 2020)