Gavin McInnes is the founder of the group known as the Proud Boys, a right wing, ultranationalist group that has been involved in violent confrontations with anti-fascists. Kelly Weill describes his history.
More than anything, the Proud Boys are anti-leftist. Members talk openly of beating leftist opponents (“commies” and “antifa”) in the streets. Proud Boys at a violent Portland, Oregon, rally wore T-shirts valorizing Augusto Pinochet, a Chilean dictator who murdered tortured and murdered leftist political foes. When a prominent Twitter user made videos mocking the Proud Boys, a member showed up at his home. Members have also variously expressed sexist, anti-Semitic, and anti-LGBT views. The ideological flexibility gives some space for members of color; the aforementioned Proud Boy who attended Unite the Right also runs with a primarily Latino skinhead crew. It also gives plausible deniability for figures like McInnes, who constantly toe the line of acceptable hatred.
In McInnes’ case, he accused Soros of funding a network of “lesbian” lawyers who harass the far right. (He also falsely accused Soros’ staff of organizing Unite the Right “to discredit us all.”)
But there’s something more sinister than simple conservative shit-talk at play: With one foot in the world of right-wing street fights and the other in upstate country clubs, McInnes is marshaling an extremist group from a safe remove. One Gavin McInnes champions violence and reaps speaking fees, the other doesn’t care for critical emails from neighbors.
McInnes apparently is wealthy and recently sold his expensive Brooklyn penthouse and moved with his family into the tony New York suburb of Larchmont. But when his neighbors became aware of who had moved in nearby, they were not pleased. Some of them organized a campaign to plant signs saying ‘Hate Has No Home Here’ on their lawns. He is upset by this and is now whining about how people are being mean to him by putting up these signs and he wants them to come down. Of course, he thinks George Soros is behind this.
“I see it in my neighborhood,” McInnes said. “I see whispers all the time. I’m walking down the street and a housewife goes,” he made an outraged face “like she’s finally seen Hannibal Lecter walk by. And what is the horror? The horror is that I like Trump, and that if I like Trump I might be conservative.”
Larchmont residents’ real problem, locals say, is with McInnes’ role in the Proud Boys, which has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. And the Proud Boys’ involvement in a Manhattan brawl brought McInnes to the neighborhood’s attention.
Will Sommer reports that McInnes has now sent out a letter to his neighbors, saying that the signs hurt his delicate feelings and pleading that they be removed because he really is a very nice person who wants everyone to love one another.
In fact, though, McInnes has a history of making hateful or extreme statements. He has ranted about Jews, saying that he was “becoming anti-Semitic” after a trip to Israel. He has called trans people “gender n**gers,” and once wrote that women want to be “downright abused.”
Despite his conciliatory tone in the letter, though, McInnes isn’t always so polite about his neighbors and their signs. He devoted an hour-long podcast on Friday to the signs, with a decidedly less neighborly tone.
“If you have that sign on your lawn, you’re a fucking retard,” McInnes said.
Note that the sign just rejects hate and does not mention him by name, so his reaction is a classic case of the shoe fitting.
McInnes is like the ‘crying Nazi’ Chris Cantwell who also whined about how people are being mean to him after the video emerged of him boasting of his role in the Charlottesville neo-Nazi and white supremacisr rally. These haters can dish it out but they can’t take even the most gentle of rebukes.