Several members of the extremist hate group Proud Boys kicked and pummeled a small group of antifascist protesters Friday night outside an Upper East Side Manhattan club where Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes had delivered a speech.
During the melee, which was captured on video and in photos posted to social media, Proud Boys members dressed in black polo shirts yelled homophobic slurs as they attacked at least three protesters. Several Proud Boys can be seen kicking their victims after they had been knocked to the ground.
According to HuffPost, the fight broke out just minutes after about 30 Proud Boys left the Metropolitan Republican Club, where McInnes re-enacted the “inspiring moment” a Japanese ultranationalist assassinated the head of the Japanese Socialist Party with a samurai sword on Oct. 12, 1960, according to a post on McInnes’ Instagram.
The HuffPost report said the fight broke out after protesters knocked a “Make America Great Again” hat off a Proud Boy’s head.
In footage broadcast by Fox News, McInnes is seen briefly stepping out of a car and brandishing a sword before police urge him to move along. Prior to the streetfight, dozens of protesters had gathered outside the club, where they allegedly chanted, “Kill more Nazis!”
The previous night, someone had tagged the club, which serves as the GOP’s Manhattan clubhouse, with anarchist graffiti and had broken two windows. A note left behind said the vandalism aimed “to put the Republican Party on notice,” according to the Daily News.
Citing NYPD, the Daily Beast confirmed that three men ages 20 to 35 were arrested and charged with robbery and assault. Rebecca Kavanagh, a senior staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society, later tweeted that the three people arrested were anti-racist protesters. They were scheduled to be arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court on Saturday, she added.
Here’s a closer view of the attack:
Afterward, the Proud Boys posed for a photo while flashing “white power” hand signs. The photo was posted on Twitter by journalist and photographer Shay Horse:
According to Gothamist, following the attack, some Proud Boys yelled, “I like beer!”—a reference to Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled the Proud Boys a hate group, noting that its leaders “regularly spout white nationalist memes and maintain affiliations with known extremists. They are known for anti-Muslim and misogynistic rhetoric.”
Jason Kessler, who helped organize the “Unite the Right” neo-Nazi and white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, VA, last year, was a Proud Boys member.
Roger Stone, a right-wing provocateur and former adviser to President Donald Trump, has used the Proud Boys for private security in the past.
Reporting on Friday’s confrontation, Fox News disingenuously alluded to the sword incident—which occurred in front of police officers standing nearby—as an attack by antifa.
HuffPost reporter Christopher Mathias called that reporting “infuriating.”
Gothamist also had this to say about Metropolitan Club board chairman Ian Reilly:
Asked prior to the event whether the Metropolitan Club had any misgivings about providing a platform to someone like McInnes, board chairman Ian Reilly told Gothamist, “He is part of the right. We promote people and ideas of all kinds from the right. We’re open to different views. We would never invite anyone who would incite violence.”
To read more about McInnes’ views, the SPLC has compiled a list of his quotes here. They include:
“It’s such a rape culture with these immigrants, I don’t even think these women see it as rape. They see it as just like having a teeth [sic] pulled. ‘It’s a Monday. I don’t really enjoy it,’ but that’s what you do. I wouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t have the same trauma as it would for a middle-class white girl in the suburbs because it’s so entrenched into their culture.”
“Muslims have a problem with inbreeding. They tend to marry their first cousins…and that is a major problem here because when you have mentally damaged inbreds — which not all Muslims are, but a disproportionate number are — and you have a hate book called the Koran…you end up with a perfect recipe for mass murder.”