The Proud Boys is an American Terrorist Group
The FBI Has Not Created an American Terrorist List Yet.
The group originated in the far-right Taki’s Magazine in 2016 under the leadership of Vice Media co-founder and former commentator Gavin McInnes, taking its name from the song “Proud of Your Boy” from the 2011 Disney musical Aladdin. Although the Proud Boys initially emerged as part of the alt-right, McInnes distanced himself from this movement in early 2017, saying the Proud Boys were alt-lite while the alt-right’s focus was on race. The re-branding effort intensified following the white supremacist Unite the Right rally. Enrique Tarrio has been the chairman of the Proud Boys since late 2018. According to a former federal prosecutor and the transcripts of a 2014 federal court proceeding, Tarrio had previously served as an informant to both federal and local law enforcement.
According to Samantha Kutner of the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism, the group believes men and Western culture are under siege. Although the group officially rejects white supremacy, Kutner believes that “Western chauvinism” is a code for the White genocide conspiracy theory. Furthermore, members have in the past participated in overtly racist events and events centered around fascist, anti-left, and anti-socialist violence. The Proud Boys glorifies violence, and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has called the group an “alt-right fight club” that uses rhetorical devices to obscure its actual motives. The organization has been described as a hate group by NPR‘s The Takeaway and the SPLC. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has described the Proud Boys as “extremist conservative” and “alt lite“, “overtly Islamophobic and misogynistic”, “transphobic and anti-immigration”, “all too willing to embrace racists, antisemites and bigots of all kinds”, and notes the group’s promotion and use of violence as a core tactic.
The group has been banned from numerous social networks, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, as well as YouTube. On February 3, 2021, the United States Justice Department announced the indictment of members for conspiracy related to the 2021 United States Capitol attack; the Canadian arm of the group folded after being officially designated a terrorist organization on the same day. Since then, at least two dozen Proud Boys members and affiliates have been indicted for their alleged roles in the insurrection. The organization was subpoenaed by the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack in November 2021.