A leader and administrator of the far-right group, Proud Boys, is reportedly attempting to rebrand the organisation as unashamedly white supremacist and antisemitic.
The group originally described itself as a “Western chauvinist” fraternal organisation, and has previously insisted that its preference for an established “Western civilisation” was not fundamentally racist or antisemitic in nature.
However, the founder of the “tactical defence arm” of the Proud Boys, known for their engagement in street violence, Kyle Chapman, claimed in a recent message on the encrypted app Telegram that he has staged a “coup” against the current leader of the group, who is himself a member of an ethnic minority.
Mr Chapman wrote: “We will confront the Zionist criminals who wish to destroy our civilisation,” while also expressing an active desire for white supremacy in the country. He also quipped that he renamed the group the “Proud Goys” in a reference to the Jewish term for non-Jews that has been appropriated by neo-Nazis to represent their antisemitic beliefs.
The founder of the Proud Boys, Gavin McInnes, also has an extensive history of alleged antisemitism, despite ostensibly decrying hatred and racism. He has shared several video recordings of himself giving the Nazi salute and repeatedly shouting “Heil Hitler”. In March 2017, he allegedly posted a video on Rebel Media titled “Ten Things I Hate about Jews” that was later renamed after media backlash.
Other members and channels of the group on Telegram have rejected Mr Chapman’s desired changes, and it is unclear whether Mr Chapman has indeed obtained total control of the controversial group.