FBI Classifies Far-Right ‘Proud Boys’ as White Nationalist ‘Extremist Group,’ New Docs Show

FBI Classifies Far-Right ‘Proud Boys’ as White Nationalist ‘Extremist Group,’ New Docs Show

The FBI is classifying the far-right “Proud Boys” as an “extremist group with ties to white nationalism,” according to documents obtained by The Guardian.

The Proud Boys are a self-described “western chauvinist” group founded by Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes, who has denied ties to white nationalism. They have been listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group.

A document from Washington state law enforcement says that “The FBI has warned local law enforcement agencies that the Proud Boys are actively recruiting in the Pacific north-west”, and: “Proud Boys members have contributed to the recent escalation of violence at political rallies held on college campuses, and in cities like Charlottesville, Virginia, Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington.”

The document is from August, weeks before the group was involved in violent clashes in New York City and Portland.

Journalists decry lack of coverage: “To be clear,” wrote columnist Caroline Orr, “If there were a left-wing equivalent of the Proud Boys, right-wing media would have wall-to-wall coverage demanding that every current, future, and possible Democrat disavow them.”

FBI distances itself: "The FBI can never initiate an investigation based solely on an individual’s race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, or the exercise of First Amendment rights,” the FBI told The Hill in a statement in response to the report. "Our focus is not on membership in particular groups but on individuals who commit violence and criminal activity that constitutes a federal crime or poses a threat to national security. The FBI does not and will not police ideology."

Proud Boys banned by major companies: Amazon, PayPal, Facebook, and Twitter have all taken action to ban Proud Boys members and McInnes.