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The Proud Boys Movement (U.S.)

Extremist Groups

Last modified: 2023-03-18 by rick wyatt
Keywords: proud boys | united states |
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[Proud Boy Flag] image by Pete Loeser, 24 August 2020

On this page:

See also:


Overview: The Proud Boys Movement

     The Proud Boys (PB) are a far-right nationalist organization that sees themselves as protectors of free speech, glorifying the warrior mystic and combat, and are noted for participating in violence with far-left demonstrators, particularly targeting the ANTIFA (anti-fascist). The PB has been dubbed an "alt-right fight club" by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), and the FBI expressed concern about the potential for violence from individuals within that group. The Proud Boys have also been characterized as racists, ethnocentric, and misogynists in news articles. While it is true the Proud Boys only admit men as members, they do occasionally make mention of their "Proud Boys' Girls". They deny that they encourage violence or gang-like activity and many naive members mistakenly view their activities as jokes and harmless.
     The Proud Boys were founded in 2016 by far-right political commentator, activist, and comedian Gavin McInnes, who later publicly stepped down from any claim to leadership after several violent incidents occurred. Today the PB consists of multiple splinter groups and chapters across the United States attracting a wide variety of dissatisfied individuals who remain loosely united behind its stated goal to basically promote protection from leftist extremist at political demonstrations and to protect Trump supporters from violence. They view themselves to be libertarian in nature and share a skepticism of authority and state power. They consider themselves free speech activists and feel it is their duty to protect those who attack the protections of the First Amendment. While the group claims not to support any white supremacist views, they do believe in something they call "western values" which they claim is not racism. The PB states it welcomes members from all races, but many of their individual members do often appear in support at racist rallies and events. Proud Boys have also been present at high-profile alt-right events, including the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
     Their self-proclaimed goal is to reinstate what they call the "Spirit of Western Chauvinism" (a philosophy that European culture is basically superior) and to stand against what they call "anti-racial guilt". Their motto "The West is the Best" typifies a refusal to apologize for their belief that Western culture and individuals are responsible for creating the advances of the modern world. Today they seem to be led by a group calling themselves simply "The Elders" and claim to be simply "a drinking fraternity". The chairman of the eight member Elder Chapter in Texas is Enrique Tarrio, a Florida businessman. Reading Pat Buchanan's Death of the West (in which Buchanan argues that western culture is dying and will soon be imperiled) is encouraged.
     In recent years, the Proud Boys have established themselves as a dominant force within the alt-lite (or new-right, alt-right, etc.). Easily recognizable, thanks to their black and yellow Fred Perry polo shirts and red "Make America Great Again" baseball caps, members are regulars at far-right demonstrations and Trump rallies. Proud Boys have also been hired to serve as security for important officials and advisors such as Roger Stone after the Robert Mueller investigations into Russian election tampering and WikiLeaks. (source)
Pete Loeser, 24 August 2020

The flag most frequently used by the Proud Boys displays large letters PB within a laurel wreath, all yellow on black field. The colors are borrowed from a polo shirt by Fred Perry clothing company, which the Proud Boys' members wear so frequently that it may be considered a de facto uniform; the wreath is a modification of the Fred Perry logo. These shirts have always been popular among the football fans in the United Kingdom, for it was easy for them to select the shirt in colors of their favourite team, as a great number of color sets has been available. They have also been popular among the skinheads, many of whom were also the football fans, and the fact that the British ultra-rightists have been targeting both groups in search for new recruits may have inspired the Proud Boys to adopt the shirt. The laurel wreath logo, depicting another item which has always been appearing in ultra-rightist imagery, may have made it additionally attractive. In order to distance itself from the Proud Boys, Fred Perry has discontinued the sale of the "Black/Yellow/Yellow twin tipped shirt" in the USA and Canada, complete with an official statement issued on 2020-09-24. [1, 2]

The flag has two variants. On one of those, the branches and leaves are depicted as separate shapes; this was photographed in Portland, Oregon on 2021-10-01 [3] and Houston, Texas on 2022-05-28 [4].

[Proud Boy Flag] image by Tomislav Todorovic, 15 February 2023

More frequently, the branches and leaves are depicted as conjoined. Such flags were viewed in Salem, Oregon on 2020-09-07 [5, 6], in Enterprise, Oregon on 2020-08-22 [7] and in Creswell, Oregon on 2021-07-04 [8, 9].

Sources:

[1] Fast Company website: https://www.fastcompany.com/90560741/why-the-far-right-proud-boys-co-opted-these-polo-shirts
[2] Fred Perry website - Proud Boys Statement: https://help.fredperry.com/hc/en-us/articles/360013674918-Proud-Boys-Statement
[3] Alamy photo archive - Photo from Portland, Oregon on 2021-10-01: https://www.alamy.com/proud-boys-from-portland-oregon-and-surrounding-areas-gathered-on-october-1-2021-for-an-anti-media-flag-wave-next-to-the-offices-of-pamplin-media-group-which-they-accuse-of-biased-news-reporting-of-proud-boy-events-and-actions-photo-by-john-rudoffsipa-usa-image445169687.html
[4] Abilene Reporter News website: https://www.reporternews.com/picture-gallery/news/2022/05/29/south-texas-proud-boys-try-crash-anti-nra-protests-houston-abilene-texas-newspaper/9985525002/
[5] Voice of America website: https://www.voanews.com/a/usa_far-right-group-proud-boys-celebrates-trumps-debate-comments/6196583.html
[6] WTTG television station website: https://www.fox5dc.com/news/dc-officials-monitoring-reports-that-proud-boys-caravan-may-be-heading-to-district-for-weekend-protest
[7] Wallowa County Chieftain website: https://www.wallowa.com/news/local/back-the-blue-brings-patriots-and-proud-boys-to-rally/article_86489336-e4f5-11ea-a207-73ab8a7db6dc.html
[8] WWMT television station website: https://wwmt.com/news/nation-world/proud-boys-host-unauthorized-4th-of-july-parade-in-oregon
[9] Idaho News website: https://idahonews.com/news/local/boise-police-remove-proud-boys-flags-from-idaho-interstate

Tomislav Todorovic, 15 February 2023

[Proud Boy Flag] image by Tomislav Todorovic, 16 February 2023

The variant with conjoined branches and leaves may have the movement name inscribed in yellow above the logo, as was used in Sarasota, Florida on 2022-04-24.

Source:
Florida Politics website: https://floridapolitics.com/archives/519344-proud-boys-police-turned-out-for-womens-rally-in-sarasota/
Tomislav Todorovic, 16 February 2023

[Proud Boy Flag] image by Tomislav Todorovic, 16 February 2023

Another version of the logo displays differently shaped letters and wreath, the latter being nearly identical with the Fred Perry logo [1]. On the flags, this appears within a yellow ring, as was seen in Washington, DC on 2020-12-12 [2], Indianapolis, Indiana on 2021-01-06 [3] and Patchogue, New York on 2021-10-16 [4].

Sources:
[1] Fred Perry website - Proud Boys Statement: https://help.fredperry.com/hc/en-us/articles/360013674918-Proud-Boys-Statement
[2] Teen Vogue online magazine: https://www.teenvogue.com/story/proud-boys-burned-destroyed-black-lives-matter-signs-black-churches-dc
[3] The Indianapolis Star newspaper website: https://www.indystar.com/story/news/2021/01/11/fbi-plans-armed-nationwide-protests-us-capitol-indianapolis/6628256002/
[4] Long island Wins website: https://longislandwins.com/issues/hate-crimes/proud-boys-march-in-patchogue-on-saturday-night/

Tomislav Todorovic, 16 February 2023


The "West is Best" Proud Boys Flag

[ Flag] image by Pete Loeser, 24 August 2020

The PB motto "The West is the Best" is featured on this flag. They believe that western culture and individuals are responsible for creating all the "advances of the modern world."
Pete Loeser, 24 August 2020


The Proud Boys Flag
General House Flag

[ Flag] image by Pete Loeser, 24 June 2015

This flag seems to be a general house flag of the Proud Boys and seen displayed mostly indoors.
Pete Loeser, 24 August 2020

[Proud Boy Flag] image by Pete Loeser and Tomislav Todorovic, 20 February 2023

Most of the flags originally used by Proud Boys had white charges on black fields, but the first of these colors was soon replaced with yellow. The old flag designs, including this one, were mostly replaced as well.

The flag survived until 2021, but with changed colors: the charges were repainted into yellow, as was seen in Miami, Florida on 2021-05.25.

Source:
Getty Images photo archive - Photo from Miami, Florida on 2021-05.25: https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/members-of-the-proud-boys-counter-protest-at-the-torch-of-news-photo/1320067943

Tomislav Todorovic, 20 February 2023

[Proud Boy Flag] image by Pete Loeser and Tomislav Todorovic, 17 February 2023

A flag derived from the above one, with black charges on a yellow field, was used in las Vegas, Nevada during 2020. The use from April [1] to November [2] can currently be verified. A peculiarity of the design is that it looks as if made for vertical hoisting.

Sources:
[1] Institute for Research and Education of Human Rights website: https://www.irehr.org/2020/05/11/proud-boys-and-the-covid-19-insurrection
[2] YouTube - News report from Las Vegas, uploaded on 2020-11-06 (flag visible 0:27-0:30): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-SXdyva0Tk
Tomislav Todorovic, 17 February 2023


The Proud Boys Stars and Stripes variant and derived flags

[Proud Boy Flag] image by Tomislav Todorovic, 18 February 2023

The Proud Boys often use a variant of the Stars and Stripes on which blue and red are both replaced with black and white is replaced with yellow. Such flags were seen in Nashua, New Hampshire in July 2021 [1, 2, 3], as well as in Raleigh, North Carolina on 2022-02-26 [4] and Concord, New Hampshire on 2022-11-13 [5].

Sources:
[1] Black Lives Matter Nashua at Facebook - Post on 2021-07-28: https://www.facebook.com/BLMNashua/posts/white-supremacy-is-alive-and-well-in-new-hampshirearound-a-dozen-so-called-proud/356067932792044/
[2] Raw Story website: https://www.rawstory.com/proud-boys-2655766952
[3] VICE News website: https://www.vice.com/en/article/dyvk7a/masked-proud-boys-show-up-at-a-school-board-meeting-to-protest-critical-race-theory
[4] Indy Week newspaper website: https://indyweek.com/news/wake/photoseries-freedom-convoy-inspired-anti-vaxxers-descend-upon-raleigh/
[5] Concord Monitor newspaper website: https://www.concordmonitor.com/Proud-Boys-Protest-2022-48808729

Tomislav Todorovic, 18 February 2023

[ Flag] image by Pete Loeser, 24 August 2020

This flag, a modified stars and stripes in the black and gold of the Proud Boys with their logo in the canton, is reminiscent of the sports flags seen widely displayed in the states. Several photos of the flag being displayed in 2019, with the Las Vegas Trump International Hotel in the background, are posted online.
Pete Loeser, 24 August 2020

The only currently known photos of the flag were taken outdoors, mostly at the ultra-rightist protests in Washington, DC on 2020-12-12 [1, 2, 3]. The flag seems to have gone out of use rather early, still it may have been used by September 2021, although the source [4] does not reveal the making date of the photo, which seems to have been taken somewhere in southern USA (note the palm trees). It was offered for sale online, but the shop was closed down, although some images have remained online [5].

Sources:
[1] Daily Mail newspaper website: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9047473/Proud-Boys-BLM-fight-Stop-Steal-rally-DC-protester-shot-Washington.html
[2] Getty images photo archive - Photo from Washington, DC on 2020-12-12 (central part of the photo): https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/members-of-the-proud-boys-march-towards-freedom-plaza-news-photo/1230086862
[3] Getty images photo archive - Photo from Washington, DC on 2020-12-12 (central part of the photo): https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/members-of-the-proud-boys-march-towards-freedom-plaza-news-photo/1230086873
[4] Anti-Defamation League website: https://www.adl.org/resources/blog/latest-violence-showcases-proud-boys-toxic-mix-politics-and-bigotry
[5] Flag image at Shopify (not linked to a page any longer: https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/2059/9283/products/Scene-6_grande.jpg
Tomislav Todorovic, 16 February 2023

The flag which replaces stars with the Proud Boys logo is also frequently used. The version with the branches and leaves of the wreath depicted as separate shapes was seen at the ultra-rightist protests in Washington, DC on 2020-12-12 [1, 2]. It was used again in Miami, Florida on 2021-05-25 [3].

These flags may also display another version of the logo, with differently shaped letters and wreath, the latter being nearly identical with the Fred Perry company logo [1]. This was seen during the ultra-rightist protests in New York City on 2021-11-20 [2, 3].

Sources:
[1] Politico website: https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/12/14/harrys-bar-proud-boys-washington-dc-445015
[2] Getty Images photo archive - Photo from Washington, DC on 2020-12-12: https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/pro-trump-protesters-and-proud-boys-gathered-during-the-news-photo/1230088325?phrase=proud%20boys%20washington 
[3] Getty Images photo archive - Photo from Miami, Florida on 2021-05-25: https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/members-of-the-proud-boys-are-seen-during-a-gathering-to-news-photo/1233110042?phrase=proud%20boys%20florida

Tomislav Todorovic
, 19 February 2023


White field flag

[ Flag] image located by Bill Garrison, 20 June 2022
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proud_Boys

Here is a white-field "Proud Boys" flag version.
Bill Garrison, 20 June 2022


Chapter Flags

     Proud Boy chapters have been active across the United States, but also in Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom. Chapters include the Midwest chapter, the Pacific Northwest/Seattle chapter, the Louisiana chapter, Minnesota Proud Boys, Proud Boys Nashville, Proud Boys Texas, Proud Boys UK, Proud Boys Canada, Proud Boys Australia, Proud Boys Brazil, Proud Boys NJ, and even a branch in the Middle East, to name a few. Their private FaceBook page has over 1,000 followers and it has been claimed they may have more than 3000 members worldwide.
     A wide variety of Proud Boys flags, both real and fantasy, have been displayed by chapters of the PB, some of which are illustrated here.(source)
Pete Loeser, 24 August 2020


The Utah-South Chapter Flag

[PB Chapter Flag] image by Pete Loeser, 24 August 2020

This black and gold chapter flag has been displayed as far south as Las Vegas. Calling themselves the Utah-South (SL,UT) Chapter (questionable misogynist humor here), there are several photos of the flag displayed in 2019 with the Las Vegas Trump International Hotel in the background. They are posted online.
Pete Loeser, 24 August 2020

This black and gold chapter flag has been displayed as far south as Las Vegas. Calling themselves the Utah-South (SL,UT) Chapter (questionable misogynist humor here), there are several photos of the flag displayed in 2019 with the Las Vegas Trump International Hotel in the background.
Bill Garrison, 20 June 2022


The Pennsylvania-Philadelphia Chapter Flag

[PB Chapter Flag] image by Pete Loeser, 24 August 2020

Philadelphia was been the location of several violent clashes between right and left extremist groups. Information on the use of this flag is limited, but the Proud Boys appear to have a strong presence in the Philadelphia area. The flags actual physical existence is unverified.
Pete Loeser, 24 August 2020


The Tennessee Chapter Flag

[Boogaloo Flag] image by Pete Loeser, 24 August 2020

Information on use of this flag is limited and the size and actual membership of the Tennessee Chapter is unknown. The flags actual physical existence is unverified.
Pete Loeser, 24 August 2020


The Nebraska Chapter Flag

[Boogaloo Flag] image by Pete Loeser, 24 August 2020

Information on use of this flag is limited and the size and actual membership of the Nebraska Chapter is unknown. The flags actual physical existence is unverified.
Pete Loeser, 24 August 2020


The Vegas Chapter Flag

[Proud Boys Flag] image by Bill Garrison, 20 June 2022

A Vegas, Nevada chapter flag of the "Vegas Proud Boys" paraded during the "Million Maga March" in Washington, DC; c. Dec. 12, 2020. The significance of the red "777" is used on most slot machines in the United States to identify a "jackpot" -- it is considered a lucky number, and/or may signify a "spiritual awakening" or "inner wisdom". The rhombus-diamond frame obviously represents the flashy bright-light marques of Nevada's gambling casinos. ShutterStock photo ID: 1873618768
Bill Garrison, 20 June 2022


 
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