Officials at the Alabama Middle District Court have confirmed to Heavy that Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes has filed a lawsuit against the Southern Poverty Law Center. The lawsuit, filed on February 4th, charges that the SPLC committed libel, assault, and slander against McInnes, who is being represented by George Baron Coleman of Coleman Law.
The Southern Poverty Law Center maintains Heavy that McInnes’ case was “meritless.” In a statement to Heavy, Richard Cohen, the president of the SPLC, said,
“To paraphrase FDR, judge us by the enemies we’ve made. Gavin McInnes has a history of making inflammatory statements about Muslims, women, and the transgender community. The fact that he’s upset with SPLC tells us that we’re doing our job exposing hate and extremism. His case is meritless.”
The lawsuit was first reported by the right-wing website Gateway Pundit on Monday morning. The Gateway Pundit cited a statement in which McInnes said that he was suiing the Southern Poverty Law Center for defamation because, he charged, the group had “harassed” him, his family, and his friends. The Proud Boys founder also charged that the SPLC had purposely lied about him in an attempt to “destroy” his reputation. The statement, as reported by Gateway Pundit, read in part,
“The SPLC has gone from a noble institution genuinely dedicated to eradicating hate to a hate group in and of itself that pretends this country is frothing with bigots desperate to foment World War III,” McInnes said in his announcement. “They purposely lie about their enemies in an attempt to ‘destroy’ them (their words) and it’s become a very effective way to make money. Scaremongering brought them the $50 million their founder originally set out to make. Since then, it’s garnered hundreds of millions including untold millions in the Cayman Islands. I don’t fault entrepreneurs, but they are using this incredible wealth to wield power over the innocent and destroy careers and businesses in their insatiable need to generate more bigots — because in the world of SPLC fundraising, mo hate is mo money.”
The statement went on, “My family has been attacked and so have my friends. The pro-Trump men’s club I started, the Proud Boys, have been rounded up and arrested facing serious felonies for daring to defend themselves against the radical left. It’s not just my circle of conservative Christians. Seemingly countless business and careers have been ‘destroyed’ (yes ‘destroyed’ – their word) by this group,” he said.
The Southern Poverty Law Center Says the Proud Boys Is a Hate Group & Says McInnes Encouraged the Group to be Violent
Gavin McInnes likes to describe the Proud Boys as a “western chauvinist” organization and a “fraternal” group of Trump supporters. The Southern Poverty Law Center says that in fact, the group has a record of extreme violence and that McInnes has always pushed for violence — often using comedy as a cover for his calls to violence. The SPLC points to a few recent incidents like the violent clash between a group of Proud Boys and a few protesters outside of the Metropolitan Club in New York City last year. The SPLC has argued that violence is a key part of Proud Boys activism; “violence is at the core of their ideology and their primary tool for silencing their political foes,” the SPLC has concluded. The SPLC has also documented other violent incidents involving Proud Boys members, as well as a long history of statements by Gavin McInnes calling for violence.
Gavin McInnes Blames the SPLC for Getting Him ‘De-Platformed’ & Causing Him to Lose His Job
Alabama Political Reporter reports that McInnes’s lawsuit accuses the SPLC of “defaming him by use of the SPLC Hate Designations, and publishing other false, damaging and defamatory statements about him.” The lawuist accuses the SPLC of “concerted, obsessive and malicious actions taken to “deplatform” McInnes, as well as “tortious interference with his economic opportunities;” and for “intentionally interfering with his contractual relationships” by causing the termination of his employment.
Back in December, the conservative television network Blaze TV announced that it would no longer be working with Gavin McInnes. The network didn’t explain why it was firing McInnnes, but simply announced that it had ended its relationship with the Proud Boys founder. Since the SPLC listed the Proud Boys as a hate group, McInnes has also been kicked off of most social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube Instagram. Paypal also refuses to allow transactions to McInnes and the Proud Boys.