In what Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes is calling a way to build “hysteria” prior to mid-term elections, social media platforms Facebook and Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, have banned both McInnes and his group, citing violations of their hate group policies. The group’s founder attacked the move by calling it a desperate move by liberals who know they won’t come out on the winning side in next week’s elections.
ABC News reports that although the Southern Poverty Law Center has deemed the Proud Boys a hate group, McInnes has denied the charge. The group is self-described as a group of “Western chauvinists who refuse to apologize for creating the modern world.” A spokeswoman for Facebook issued a statement on their decision to ban the Proud Boys.
“Our team continues to study trends in organized hate and hate speech and works with partners to better understand hate organizations as they evolve. We ban these organizations and individuals from our platforms and also remove all praise and support when we become aware of it. We will continue to review content, Pages, and people that violate our policies, take action against hate speech and hate organizations to help keep our community safe.”
In light of a recent report from the Southern Poverty Law Group that the Proud Boys uses chat rooms on Facebook to vet possible new members, the group’s removal from Facebook is a blow to their recruitment and possibly to their future growth. When asked whether he agreed that the group uses Facebook in this manner, McInnes said, “I guess.”
Although Proud Boys has been around since 2016, they were recently thrust into the national spotlight when members of the group were involved in physical violence with protestors following a speech by McInnes in New York City on October 12. Business Insider reported that members of the group allegedly shouted homophobic slurs during the altercations. At least five Proud Boys were arrested following the incident.
Initiation into the Proud Boys includes four “degrees.” The Fourth Degree, as described by McInnes and reported by Metro, is “a major fight for the cause” in which “you get beat up, kick the crap out of an Antifa,” and possibly get arrested. Following another incident last year that resulted in the arrest of multiple Proud Boys, McInnes said that he was going to speak “the only language these people understand. Not only would I love to speak, but I will get violent and beat the f*** out of everybody.”