Ethan Nordean aka Rufio Panman is the Proud Boy activist who was fired by his father, Mike Nordean, over his membership of the group. Mike Nordean owns Wall’s Chowder House and Wally’s Drive-In in Des Moines, Washington. The Proud Boys describe themselves as “western chauvinists” who are not involved with alt-right politics.
The group’s Southern Poverty Law Center page says that the group’s “disavowals of bigotry are belied by their actions: rank-and-file Proud Boys and leaders regularly spout white nationalist memes and maintain affiliations with known extremists.”
Nordean’s nickname of Rufio Panman is a reference to the 1991 Peter Pan-based movie Hook.
Ethan Nordean’s Father Says He & His Wife Are ‘Appalled’ & ‘Disappointed’ With Their Son’s Activities
In an open letter published on his restaurant’s website, Mike Nordean, said that his son was no longer associated with his business. Mike Nordean says toward the beginning of the letter, “I love my son. That said, I admit that I was slow to recognize how radical and violent that group is.” Mike Nordean writes that his son’s political views are not shared by the rest of his family, his business or the community. He says that he feels “personal guilt” and “frustration” for failing to recognize his son’s activities.
Mike Nordean said in the letter that he and his wife were “told by our son that this group was a “patriotic” group that were “protectors” who stood up for freedom of speech and traditional values. We regretfully believed him.” He says that they came to a realization about their’s son’s beliefs “in light of recent social events.” That realization left the couple “appalled and disappointed.” During the letter, Mike Nordean calls the Proud Boys “radical and violent.” He says that hate groups are not welcome in his family’s restaurants. The letter finishes with Mike Nordean saying, “Finally, Des Moines has always been my home and I know it as a place of tolerance and grace. We hope you will continue to support our restaurants, our great employees, and this community.”
Wally’s Chowder House has nearly all five-star ratings, based on nearly 1,400 reviews, on the restaurant’s Yelp page.
In July 2018, Ethan Nordean was named as the Proud Boys’ “Proud Boy of the Week” by the group’s website and magazine. The award came after Nordean was recorded hitting an alleged Antifa supporter during a rally in Portland, Oregon. The rally occurred in June 2018. The Guardian described Nordean at the time as a “muscular 28-year-old from Washington state.” The article continued by saying that Nordean managed to avoid being hit by a baton-wielding opponent before leaving his “assailant” “flattened.”
Nordean’s celebrity among his peers after the incident led to an appearance on InfoWars. According to The Daily Beast, Nordean was also interviewed while shirtless by Proud Boy founder Gavin McInnes. The incident was mentioned on Joe Rogan’s podcast. The Proud Boy’s website described the incident saying:
Rufio Panman, after defending someone on the ground, was confronted by a baton-wielding “bad ass”. The baton was swung, once, twice, both were blocked, in response a looping, style point-earning gamset right hand crumbled this would be assailant to the ground.
The tribute ended with the words, “They f****d around. They found out.” A Reed Magazine article on the incident says that the video of Nordean “has been skilfully edited to reinforce a simple narrative—to cast Antifa as dangerous extremists and Panman as a patriotic hero.”
The Intercept said in a 2019 article that Nordean’s antics were used as a recruiting tool by the Proud Boys.
Nordean Was Named by Milo Yiannopoulos as Being One of the Few Christians in a Leadership Position of the Proud Boys
The Southern Poverty Law Center said in a September 2018 article that Nordean had knocked a man unconscious during a “Free Alex Jones” rally in Austin, Texas.
In his 2018 book, Diabolical, Milo Yiannopoulos wrote that Nordean was one of the Christian members of the Proud Boys who was in a “leadership position.”
Nordean was quoted by Pamplin Media during a Patriot Prayer rally in 2018 as saying of Antifa, “I’m standing up for free speech. I’m an American patriot. We’ve tried to debate, we’ve tried to have the conversation… They don’t seem interested.”