Gavin McInnes and the Proud Boys: "Alt-right without the racism"? - 2018-10-17
Gavin McInnes, talk radio host and founder of the "Western chauvinism" group Proud Boys, has generally been treated as a fringe character and an oddity by the mainstream press, even though he had nearly a quarter-million Twitter followers before he was booted from the service. But he was thrust into the national spotlight this past week when a group of his followers was videotaped getting into a nasty brawl with anti-fascist protesters after McInnes gave a speech last Friday at the Metropolitan Republican Club.
McInnes has been positioning himself for years as the pundit for the right wing's younger set, with an ideology almost totally uninterested in moralistic Christian piety and more in line with Donald Trump's liberal-trolling hedonist aesthetic. Now he's being profiled in media outlets like the New York Times and Vox, with considerable attention paid to McInnes and the Proud Boys' relationship to the rise of white nationalism. This topic is of particular importance because a number of prominent alt-right figures spent time with the Proud Boys before graduating to full-blown white supremacy.
McInnes has frequently denied that his group is racist, describing the Proud Boys' ethos as "alt-right without the racism," on NPR's "This American Life" in September.