The Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes initiated Infowars Publisher Alex Jones into his fraternal band of “western chauvinists” Thursday, less than a month after claiming a complete disassociation from the group in light of several members facing gang-related charges.
A conservative commentator and co-founder of Vice Media, Mr. McInnes pummeled the Infowars publisher more than two dozen times while performing the initiation ceremony during an appearance on “The Alex Jones Show,” casting doubt on whether he entirely parted ways with the Proud Boys as previously claimed.
“You’re now a second-degree Proud Boy,” Mr. McInnes told Mr. Jones afterward.
Mr. McInnes, 48, issued a video statement weeks earlier putting space between himself and the Proud Boys, citing mounting legal pressure related to several members facing charges related to a violent street brawl that happened following his Oct. 12 appearance at the Metropolitan Republican Club in Manhattan.
“I’m told by my legal team and law enforcement that this gesture could help alleviate their sentencing,” he said in the Nov. 21 video statement. “At the very least, this will show jurors they are not dealing with a gang and there is no head of operations.”
During Thursday’s appearance on Mr. Jones’ show, Mr. McInnes added:
“They said that the push for the prosecution is going to be that it’s a gang and that gangs are two things: they do illegal activities and they have a leader. So get rid of the leader and we’re helping get rid of this lie that they’re a gang. It won’t drop the charges but it might alleviate it.”
Mr. Jones, 45, asked to be initiated into the Proud Boys after Mr. McInnes discussed the process near the end of the segment.
“The Proud Boys are called violent because they have beat-ins where you have to name five breakfast cereals,” Mr. McInnes said.
“I tell you what. I’m joining Proud Boys, even though you’re not the leader of it anymore. Go ahead and initiate me right now,” Mr. Jones said.
Mr. McInnes subsequently asked Mr. Jones to recite a pledge — “I’m a proud western chauvinist, and I refuse to apologize for creating the modern world” — prior to punching him at least 25 times while the Infowars publisher attempted to name five breakfast cereals. Mr. Jones ultimately named four before asking Mr. McInnes to stop.
An article published by Infowars described it as a “mock initiation.”
The New York Police Department has charged a dozen people in connection with the Oct. 12 fight, including nine alleged members of the Proud Boys. Defendants face charges ranging from possession of a weapon to gang assault, among other counts.