The leader of the more paramilitary branch of the Proud Boys is now trying to rename the far-right street fighting group into a more explicitly racist entity. This is the latest headache for an organization currently in denial of President Donald Trump’s re-election.
Kyle “Based Stickman” Chapman was once the leader of the Fraternal Order of the Alt-Knights, essentially the frontline shock troops of the group known to have taken part in brawls across the country. The founder of the Proud Boys even said in 2017 that he was considering appointing Chapman president of the entire organization.
But that was while Trump was ascending. Now, as the ultra-nationalist group scrambles over the loss of Trump, Chapman is threatening a coup to make the Proud Boys even more explicitly hateful, accusing the group’s current leadership of being too soft.
Chapman, who did not return a request for comment, announced his takeover attempt on Monday evening.
“Due to the recent failure of Proud Boy President Enrique Tarrio to conduct himself with honor and courage on the battlefield, it has been decided that I Kyle Chapman will resume my position as President of Proud Boys with immediate effect” , he wrote on the encrypted messaging platform. Telegram. “Our logo will be immediately changed to reflect the core beliefs of the Proud Boy members. In the future, we will now be known as PROUD GOYS. The coup d’etat is over. The grieving leaders have been removed from office. “
The announcement continued in racist terms, claiming that the organization’s new leadership would be more explicitly white supremacist and (unlike the current group) opposed to gay members. (The name of the proposed group, the Proud Goys, was a nod to the adoption by anti-Semites of the word “goy,” which is Yiddish to a non-Jewish person.)
Enrique Tarrio, the current leader of the Proud Boys, told the Daily Beast that the putsch was not going to succeed. And indeed, Chapman’s position in the group has plummeted since its heyday several years ago.
Yet his announcement hinted at recent upheavals in Proud Boy circles, as well as a sectarian tendency that continues to surface among the Proud Boys despite the group’s insistence that they are not racist.
Chapman rose to prominence as a “Stickman based” after he was filmed hitting anti-fascists with a bat during a 2017 protest in Berkeley, California. At the time, he was not a member of the Proud Boys. But his antics won him admiration from the group, who set up a fund to pay his bail. Group founder Gavin McInnes told the New York Times that he had considered bringing Chapman on board as the new president of the Proud Boys, but instead decided to put him as head of the Fraternal Order of the Alt-Knights, a subgroup intended to be the wing paramilitary of the Proud Boys.
As the frontman of FOAK, Chapman embodied some of the bloodiest and most fanatical trends in the Proud Boys, leading brawls, urging fans to “crush [anti-fascists] on sight ”, insulting Muslims and encouraging the lynching of politicians. Like many of the Proud Boys, he was convicted of violence in those far-right brawls, agreeing to a plea deal tied to the brawl that made him famous. He then moved away from a visible leadership role with the Proud Boys, but still posts the group’s propaganda on social media.
After Trump’s defeat, however, Chapman and the Proud Boys began to act more erratically online. The group’s social media pages have relentlessly argued that Trump actually won re-election (he didn’t) and that Democrats were involved in massive voter fraud (they aren’t).
Shortly after most of the media reported Joe Biden won the race, Tarrio threatened to mobilize the group. “We are in the process of deploying,” Tarrio said on Sunday. “The hold order has been canceled.”
Those words were apparently not enough for Chapman, who was laughing at them on Telegram.
“Watch out for leftists,” Chapman said Sunday. “Your pissed off Enrique. If you keep going, he might walk around casually confused, acting like he’s breaking up a fight while you stab his friends. If you make him really mad, he’ll push you … hard. (The latter was apparently a reference to a recent incident in which Proud Boys claimed to have been stabbed, though video of the incident is unclear, showing a fight after Proud Boys confronted someone on a sidewalk. Police said the incident occurred during an altercation with the suspects, who have yet to be named.)
Chapman continued to rage through the night, accusing Tarrio of “standing there doing nothing” and “looking at his phone” during a fight. He hurled an insult at Tarrio, who is black, and implied that Tarrio was not fit to lead the group.
Tarrio told the Daily Beast he thought Chapman was drunk or was joking.
“He hasn’t been with the organization for probably two years,” Tarrio said. “Obviously, he probably still has some friends. I never had a problem with Kyle. I think he had a drunken rant that night and found it funny putting the things he did on his channel and then he said it was a joke. Whether it was a joke or not, I think it was stupid.
(Chapman later deleted his comment suggesting he was joking and repeatedly insisted he was completely serious, pressuring personal attacks from Tarrio, who said he opposed it. ” I won’t pick up someone calling me a ‘token nigger,’ ”Tarrio told the Daily Beast.)
Despite the Proud Boys’ public insistence that they disown racism, this kind of thing continues to happen to them.
On Telegram, Chapman was joined on his crusade by Jovi Val, a former Proud Boy who in recent years has given up on pretense and has started wearing a swastika collar in public.
When Chapman led FOAK, its second-in-command was Austin Gillespie, a white supremacist who legally changed his name to “Augustus Sol Invictus”, called for the lynching of his enemies and is currently awaiting trial for alleged domestic violence. The Proud Boys also rushed to distance themselves from Alan Swinney, a Portland man facing a mountain of accusations for his alleged actions in brawls in that town, where he was pictured pointing a gun at people. opponents. Swinney has a large “Proud Boys” tattoo on his arm, although the group claims he is not a member.
The Proud Boys also attempted to bury their ties to Unite the Right, the fateful white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia 2017. Nonetheless, some members, including Tarrio, attended the rally on its fateful second day.
Tarrio – who when he spoke to The Daily Beast was on his way to DC for a pro-Trump event this weekend –was photographed that day wearing a patch for FOAK, Chapman’s paramilitary group.
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