Our Sept 6 issue revolved around a piece titled “Brawlers, Bloggers, and State Lawmakers,” where we included reporting on a violent, neo-fascist, hate fraternity called the Proud Boys. This group refers to itself as “western chauvinists,” and has committed violence at many political events, including the Portland Patriot Prayer rallies. Twitter has suspended many Proud Boys-affiliated accounts citing violation of “our policy prohibiting violent extremist groups.”
The Proud Boys have publicly disavowed ethno-nationalism and racism, yet have closely aligned themselves with the alt-right. This mixed message does not seem to absolve them of their associations and the actions of their members. The Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally, which culminated in the murder of Heather Heyer, was orchestrated by former Proud Boy Jason Kessler. Their founder, Gavin McInnes, has made several public racist and anti-semitic comments, for instance, ALLCAPS tweeting, “10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT THE GODDAMN MOTHERFUCKING JEWS!,” with a link to a video. But then he doesn’t want to be called an anti-Semite because only he can define himself.
McInnes in another tweet, quoting an Infowars article about aborting white babies to end racism, adding, “this attitude + immigration = white genocide in the west.”
Yesterday, Jason Van Dyke, legal counsel for the Proud Boys, contacted The Advocate with a letter demanding we cease and desist the posting of our original story. The letter contains legal threats. Van Dyke is also known for using death threats accompanied by racial slurs on social media.
For instance, the Southern Poverty Law Center reports, “Van Dyke’s penchant for violence appears on his Twitter page, where in 2014 he made death threats against another user.” They then recount his posting a picture of a noose, and that he wrote, “Look good and hard at this picture you fucking nigger. It’s where I am going to put your neck.” In another post he wrote, “Your kiddies are quite a nuisance.” In still another, he wrote, “My advice: run and hide. If I find you, I WILL kill both you and your family.” After the musician Talib Kweli drew attention to the tweets, Van Dyke tweeted a picture of an AR-15 with the caption, “Stupid Talib is trying to get a lynch mob on IG to attack my home, job, & family. It won’t end well for the attackers.” Twitter banned him in response.
Van Dyke has demanded that The Advocate retract any insinuations that the Proud Boys are a hate group or “hate fraternity,” neo-fascists, or were present at the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville.