The House Jan. 6 committee has put the far-right Proud Boys group at the center of the probe into the Capitol riot, as its leadership faces a new round of sedition charges. But how did the Proud Boys find themselves at the center of the riot investigation?
On this week’s episode of The Daily Beast’s Fever Dreams podcast, host Will Sommer and guest host Sam Brodey talked to HuffPost senior editor Andy Campbell, the author of We Are Proud Boys, an upcoming book on the far-right group. Campbell explained how the Proud Boys have evolved since their founding by right-wing personality Gavin McInnes, going from a drinking club with a penchant for violence into the alleged “architects” of the riot.
“The Proud Boys have gone from a bumbling street gang that’s been committing violence in America’s streets for the last six years or so, to an outsized role in the insurrection, and now, to architects,” Campbell said.
Campbell pointed out federal indictments alleging that Proud Boys leaders circulated a written plan ahead of the riot calling for the occupation of congressional buildings.
“Holy crap, you’re telling me that there was a direct plan in place?” Campbell said, recalling his reaction to the news of the riot plan.
On the podcast, Sommer keyed in on the Proud Boys’ alleged role as the vanguard of the riot, leading an otherwise disorganized rabble of Trump supporters into the Capitol.
“It seems as though the Proud Boys decided, ‘Well, there’s going to be all the angry people there, but they need a spark,’” Sommer said. “‘And we’re going to be that spark.’”
Campbell also explained the Proud Boys got their name from a song from the Aladdin musical, “Proud of Your Boy,” after McInnes saw a child performing it at an elementary school and decided it wasn’t manly enough for his taste.
“‘Proud of Your Boy’ became sort of a joke calling-card among him and his audience,” Campbell said.
Elsewhere in the episode, Brodey, a congressional reporter for The Daily Beast, ran down other revelations from the Jan. 6 committee’s hearings so far.
“They indicated that clearly the committee is going to follow the money a little bit here, and dig into some of the stuff that isn’t so obvious,” Brodey said, citing the committee’s claim that the Trump campaign raised $250 million on its bogus election fraud claims.
Then Brodey and Sommer discuss the botched attempt by the white supremacist group Patriot Front to disrupt a gay pride march in Idaho. In the podcast’s final segment, “Fresh Hell,” Sommer explains why members of the far-right manosphere are terrified to touch paper receipts, fearful that its chemical makeup will leach them of their masculinity.
Listen, and subscribe, to Fever Dreams on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher.