Two self-identified Proud Boys have been involved in the internal planning for a set of simultaneous "White Lives Matter" rallies scheduled for Sunday, according to chat logs leaked to the media.
The association with the White Lives Matter rallies, which are promoting overtly white supremacist messages about a supposed white genocide, is a liability for the Proud Boys, a violent proto-fascist group that claims to be non-racist. The leaked chats show that a Proud Boy responsible for organizing the Michigan White Lives Matter rally went to some effort to hide the fact that members of his group are involved in the effort.
The Telegram user "Telly Savalas," who was the admin for the @WLM_Michigan channel, expressed concern on April 5 about a user named "BamaPatriot 2º" who wrote, "POYB," with an A-OK emoji. Those are signifiers associated with the Proud Boys.
"I've been trying to tell guys to get that shit off their profile," "Telly Savalas" said in the private admin group chat for the White Lives Matter March. "Plus I've been getting kicked in my balls every day about this thing."
The chats were provided to Raw Story by a group called Corvallis Antifascists.
The Michigan Proud Boy had pleaded to be made anonymous to protect his identity, but the central organizing committee apparently deemed that to be too much of a security risk.
"Why can't I be anon?" "Telly Savalas" asked. "I just got kicked from my leadership spot in PB. One of my boys that joined did too. We're fighting this shit on multiple fronts. If you wanna call me I'll give you my number ffs. I get it you're doing a lot but bro."
"Admins of WLM Zone," the unidentified individual or committee behind the rallies, responded: "Because if I make you anon you can see the other admins. This has to be discussed before it gets approved."
Another Proud Boy posting under the name "JW" who was responsible for organizing the western Kansas rally, said he leads a whites-only chapter of the Proud Boys.
"JW" made the declaration during a spat with another participant in admin chat who insulted the Proud Boys for being insufficiently racist.
"In my opinion, anyone who is concerned about the PBs or tries to attach explicitly pro-white efforts to them is usually a shitlib," "Project Algiz" wrote."
"You sir are a fucking idiot that apparently knows nothing about how things work," "JW" angrily responded.
Attempting to mediate, "Admins of WLM Zone" admonished: "Keep it elegant, gents. We know many PBs are pro-White. And like we said before, all pro-Whites are welcome. Groups don't matter."
Defending himself against the charge of being too tolerant, "JW" declared his racist as well as homophobic and transphobic bona fides.
"As chapter president, I choose to be WHITE only," he said. "No tranny's, chomos or faggots either. Each chapter is run differently."
"Project Algiz" continued to goad "JW" by pointing out that the Proud Boys' national chairman, Enrique Tarrio, is not white.
"Once again motherfucker you've proven your ignorance," "JW" responded. "T-shirt Tarrio is no longer in charge of anything."
Tarrio could not be reached for comment about whether he still holds the top leadership position in the Proud Boys.
"JW," for his part, left the chat soon after the argument with "Project Algiz," and the @WLMWesternKansas channel no longer exists.
Telegram users with Proud Boys avatars had already expressed enthusiasm about a prospective rally in the Washington, DC area, as previously reported by Raw Story. Hampton Russell Ouelette, president of the Northern Virginia chapter of the Proud Boys, signaled his tacit approval for the rally in the public chat for the DC-Maryland-Virginia channel. Responding to another Telegram user with a Proud Boys avatar who wrote, "#fuckantifa proudboys will be the there in plain clothes or not," Ouelette posted, "POYB," a Proud Boys salute that stands for "Proud Of Your Boy." While saying he wasn't enthusiastic about the rallies, he told Raw Story: "But I'll do whatever my brothers decided to do. I've voiced my opinion but loyal to my guys so its it's up in the air."
Ouelette acknowledged his involvement with the prospective White Lives Matter rally on March 30. The following day, "Telly Savalas" joined the private Admins of WLM Zone chat as the organizer of the Michigan rally.
Comments by the anonymous individual or committee behind the White Lives Matter Marches reflect a preoccupation with optics to make the rallies palatable to people who are receptive to a message of white victimhood but put off by overt trappings like swastikas, Klan hoods and sieg heils.
"This event should be 110% optical in the sense of no swastikas or anything that puts normies off," "Admins of WLM Zone" wrote. "This is the chance to engage with normies."
The strategy has been met with varying levels of cooperation.
"Ride_the_Bolts," the user responsible for planning the Raleigh, NC rally, responded: "Fuck what puts them off. The truth is the truth. My job is to represent my race and say the truth. We shouldn't be trying to make some above ground Fascist organization that makes people feel better."
But "Your Fuhrer," who is organizing one of two competing rallies in Orange County, in California, argued against transparency.
"Some people just really do not understand that there are steps to normalization of nationalist/racialist beliefs," they wrote.
"Admins of WLM Zone" tasked "Telly Savalas," the Michigan Proud Boy, with writing an "OpSec Guide."
The central message rally participants should share, "Telly Savalas" said, is that "this is not a white supremacist march. This is supposed to be to bring awareness to the one sided anti-white coverage of crimes that happen to whites across this country."
Dashing off the guidelines for maintaining good optics, "Telly Savalas" wrote, in part: "It shouldn't have to be said but if your profile picture has swastikas, iron crosses or any other symbols that is commonly associated with the NS movement consider removing them. They will only give legitimacy to the insults our enemies throw at us to discredit this movement, plus it will alienate people of other races who are sympathetic to this cause.
"It should also be said if you're already a member of another fraternal organization, i.e. Fraternal Order of the Eagles, Proud Boys, Knights of Columbus, Shriners, Patriot Front, consider not using common language and terms or symbols that you would use amongst each other. Again, this lends legitimacy to the leftists."
Then, underscoring that the advice is just for show, he added, "God this sounds like left wing sensitivity bullshit drivel."
Regardless of the public relations push, the "White Lives Matter" rallies appear to be too radioactive even for the activists that "Telly Savalas" runs with.
"I'm on the verge of leaving as well," he posted in the admin chat on Tuesday. He complained: "I've been sharing this shit in all my local groups and my private chats and I'm getting crickets."
After antifascists leaked the chats from the admin channel, the primary organizers scrambled to calm followers on Thursday night, but few seemed reassured.
"Too many damn feds sniffing around," "Freedom" wrote.
"Toxic Aura" chimed in: "What an absolute garbage dumpster fire."
And on Friday, the Raleigh event, in which the organizer had called on supporters to "come prepared to fight" with mace, pepper spray, batons and riot shields, was de-listed from the main public chat.
"Ride_The_Bolts" changed their username to "American Fascist Union" and at 7:28 p.m. announced in the local channel that the Raleigh event was canceled, providing a bizarre explanation that the Proud Boys were threatening to team up with antifa to counter-protest the rally, and that antifa was busing in supporters from out of state.
But a subsequent message hinted that the real reason is that there just aren't enough people willing to turn out for the rally. The organizer pledged to regroup and to mobilize a statewide "National socialist and Fascist" movement in the future.
"We will gain support online and through propaganda runs in major city's around the state," they said. "We will have in person private meeting to get to know one another, share ideas and push us to the future. Then when we are secure and have enough support we will march. We will take the streets back from the degenerates."