Last week, the 47-year-old co-founder of VICE Magazine, announced he would be departing from right-wing Rebel Media and going “mainstream.” Gavin McInnes’s new venture will likely include television, radio, the internet and books.
McInnes said, “I’m going to be a multi-media Howard Stern-meets-Tucker Carlson, if that makes sense,” adding that news of his new employers was “gonna be huge.”
“Were McInnes an ordinary media executive,” argues Sharona Coutts, the news wouldn’t be so frightening but the fact is McInnes is also the founder of the Proud Boys, a movement “for men who identify with a nebulous philosophy called “Western chauvinism,” and are willing to literally fight for their beliefs at rallies, political events, and even in everyday life.”
The Proud Boys, sometimes referred to as “alt-lite” by critics and supporters alike, are closely aligned with President Donald Trump and his administration’s policies.
Oren Segal, head of the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, told Rewire that “McInnes’ combination of social media talent, with his embrace of physical violence, make him stand out as especially dangerous, even among the ideologues of the far right.”
McInnes is adamant that his group is not in any way aligned with Neo-Nazis or white supremacists. But according to the Proud Boy Magazine, “a Proud Boy is that a man declare he is ‘a Western chauvinist who refuses to apologize for creating the modern world.’”
“McInnes uses the classic ploy of ‘joking’ to convey his messages, so that he can claim those he has offended either didn’t get it,” says Coutts.
“The real danger,” Segal told Rewire, “is that by attracting hundreds of thousands of people and exposing them to these alt-lite messages, McInnes is bringing them into the orbit of the alt-right, and conditioning them to be more likely to accept those even more extremist ideas.”