Twitter suspends accounts of Vice Co-Founder Gavin McInnes, Proud Boys Ahead of 'Unite the Right' Rally
Before the suspension of the accounts, Proud Boy's official Twitter account featured a cover photo of a Proud Boy punching a counter-protester.
Social Media giant Twitter has suspended the accounts of Gavin McInnes and his far-right Proud Boys group Friday afternoon. The step has been taken ahead of "Unite the Right" rally in Washington D.C.
According to a statement given to Buzzfeed News by Twitter, both the accounts were shut down for violations of the company's policies.
Vice Magazine was co-founded by Mclnnes and Vice Media's current president Shane Smith in 1994. Mclnees left the company in 2008 and later on in 2016 came up with Proud Boys. Before the suspension of the accounts, Proud Boy's official Twitter account featured a cover photo of a Proud Boy punching a counter-protester.
The group and its members self-identify as "western chauvinists," and McInnes has in the past publicly distanced himself from white supremacists. However, Proud Boys regularly take part in far-right events, where members have been observed taking part in violence against counter-demonstrators.
Jason Kessler, the organizer of last year's "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, VA, was a member of the Proud Boys until the group expelled him following the backlash against the violent nature of the rally, which included the killing of a counter-protester. Kessler is organizing a one-year-anniversary rally in Washington D.C. Sunday.
Twitter's suspension of McInnes and the Proud Boys also comes as the company is under fire for not suspending the accounts of far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his Infowars media outlet even after Apple and Facebook banned Jones from their platforms.
CEO Jack Dorsey defended the decision Tuesday by arguing that Jones had not violated any of the company's policies, but subsequent media reports pointed to a number of tweets that may have been in violation of Twitter's rules. Tweets referenced in a CNN story have since been deleted.
(With inputs from Reuters)