Fights broke out Friday night in New York City after a speech by Gavin McInnes, founder of the far-right group Proud Boys, with his supporters yelling homophobic slurs at protesters on a Manhattan street.
The only arrests so far, however, were of three of the anti-Proud Boys protesters, ThinkProgress reports.
The altercations began about 8:15 as McInnes’s audience left the Metropolitan Republican Club on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, the New York Post reports. There were about 80 protesters outside the club, and three of them followed one of the men leaving the building, according to a police report cited by the Post. One of the protesters hit the man and took his backpack, resulting in the arrests of all three.
But the Proud Boys and their supporters were also aggressors, several witnesses posted on social media. They “took to the streets, brutally beating and kicking several individuals while shouting ‘faggot’ and ‘cocksucker,’ reportedly because one of them stole one of their MAGA hats,” ThinkProgress reports.
So followed the proud boys as they left the event. About 1-2 blocks away a 30 (proud boys) V 3 (randoms) fight broke out. It ended with 30 proud boys pummeling a guy on the ground screaming “ARE YOU BRAVE NOW FAGGOT?!” Going home now to file and edit the shots
— Shay Horse (@HuntedHorse) October 13, 2018
If U.S. media were describing an event like this in another country, it'd be written as a "violent pro-Trump street gang" or a "fascist gang."
Yet outlets here will still describe the Proud Boys as a "right-wing group" & its founder, Gavin McInnes, as a mere "provocateur" https://t.co/ZzkoeFe23E
— Christopher Mathias (@letsgomathias) October 13, 2018
McInnes calls himself a Western culture advocate but says he is not racist, nor are the Proud Boys. “I don’t even see it as disputable that any other culture is in the same league as the West – that’s why everyone wants to emigrate here, because we're simply better. ... It’s not racial, it’s cultural,” he once told Toronto’s Globe and Mail.
He further says he is not homophobic, but this year he contended Fire and Fury author Michael Wolff is not trustworthy because he has “gay face.” He also has made many anti-transgender statements. The Southern Poverty Law Center, a progressive watchdog and legal organization, has designated the Proud Boys as a hate group.
There were several fights after the Friday event, according to ThinkProgress. Several of McInnes’s supporters could be heard chanting “I like beer,” a reference to a comment made by Brett Kavanaugh in a hearing leading up to his confirmation as a Supreme Court justice. Kavanaugh was being questioned about his drinking habits in light of Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation that he sexually assaulted her while drunk at a party in high school, an accusation Kavanaugh has denied.
Earlier in the day, the Metropolitan Republican Club had been vandalized, with a brick being thrown through one of its windows, anarchy symbols drawn on the door, and glue poured on the locks, the Post reports.
A note was found at the scene Friday morning, reading, “The Metropolitan Republican Club chose to invite a hipster-fascist clown to dance for them, content to revel in their treachery against humanity,” as quoted by the Post. It continued, “Tonight, we put the Republican Party on notice, in defiance to the policy of mass misery they have championed. The US government has established concentration camps around the country for Latino people, shamelessly murders black people, and continues its war machine that has slaughtered Muslim people with impunity for decades.”
The three anti-McInnes protesters after the Friday night fights were Finbarr Slonim, 20, and Caleb Perkins, 35, both of Manhattan, and Kai Russo, 20, of Brooklyn, the Post reports. All were charged with robbery and assault, while Perkins was additionally charged with resisting arrest.
Police told the Post they are reviewing various videos of the altercations to determine if any other people will be arrested.
Right-wing media, such as Fox News, ignored the aggression of McInnes’s supporters and characterized the Friday night brawls as left-wing violence, according to ThinkProgress. “As ThinkProgress has reported, the Proud Boys have a penchant for violence at their events, seeming to even delight in initiating it,” the site notes. “McInnes himself has told his followers that ‘fighting solves everything.’”