After attending the national convention of the Proud Boys — the far-right, transphobic, extremist organization that participated in the January 6, 2021 U.S. Capitol riots — the group’s founder Gavin McInnes said he’s witnessing a “massive civil war” among the group.
The Proud Boys has split into two factions: “National” chapters that still recognize the group’s U.S. leaders (a handful of which have been arrested for participating in the riots) and “Standard” local chapters that reject those leaders. Both groups have accused the other of racism, pedophilia, and harboring federal informants.
The split began with the revelation that Enrique Tarrio, the group’s national “chairman,” served as a federal informant on cases before the Proud Boys group formed. Some Standard members feel that Tarrio led the group into disgrace by involving them in the riots. These local chapters said that individual groups should have more autonomy to avoid government informants who have infiltrated the organization.
McInnes, who formally abandoned his leadership over the organization in 2018 when its members were accused of attacking Democratic events in mob-style violence, recently went online to dismiss two Standard supporters with connections to racist skinhead groups.
“McInnes’ move to issue expulsions suggests that he still holds leadership power over the Proud Boys, despite his claims to the contrary. McInnes didn’t respond to requests for comment,” The Daily Beast reported.
Last week, a prominent Proud Boy named Jeremy Bertino pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy for his role in coordinating the Proud Boys’ presence at the Capitol riots. He is now cooperating with federal prosecutors in their investigation of the Proud Boys.
New Zealand declared the Proud Boys a terrorist organization in June 2022.
McInnes has also published several transphobic articles calling trans people “mentally ill gays,” voicing support for Trump’s trans military ban, and calling parental support of trans children “child abuse.”