Proud Boys Founder Gavin McInnes Claims He’s Quitting Far-Right Group

Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes announced he is quitting the far-right group of “Western chauvinists” on Wednesday, claiming the move would help Proud Boys members facing assault and riot charges in New York City. “I am officially disassociating myself from the Proud Boys,” McInnes said in a video. “In all capacities, forever, I quit.” McInnes made the announcement a day after newly revealed police documents suggested that the FBI classifies the Proud Boys as an “extremist group.” Nine members of the group, along with some left-wing anti-fascist protesters, have been charged over an October attack that followed a McInnes speech in New York. Videos of the fight showed a large number of Proud Boys attacking a person on the ground and yelling homophobic slurs. “I’m told by my legal team and law enforcement that this gesture could help alleviate their sentencing” McInnes said. “Fine. At the very least, this will show jurors they are not dealing with a gang and there’s no head of operations.” McInnes, a Vice co-founder who left the magazine in 2008, created the Proud Boys, their rules and membership tiers, including a fourth degree reserved for Proud Boys who get in a fight “for the cause.” But McInnes, who regularly appears at Proud Boy events and initiations, claimed in the new video that he was never the group’s leader. “There are 10,000 members around the world, and they certainly don’t need me to survive,” he said.

—Will Sommer