Gay men launched a savvy campaign over the weekend to appropriate the hashtag of the white supremacist “Proud Boys” with a tsunami of touching images and messages on social media.
The love resistance movement sent “Proud Boys” zooming into the trending stratosphere.
But the posts weren’t riddled with the disturbing images and hate-spewing messages by the group Donald Trump told to “stand by” after he was asked to condemn white supremacists at last week’s presidential debate. (He finally renounced the Proud Boys days later after a backlash.)
Instead, these Proud Boys Twitter posts were filled with photos of embraces and wedding scenes, and expressions of love.
In honor of the campaign, the official Twitter account of the Canadian Armed Forces in the U.S. posted an image of a service member kissing his partner with emojis of Canada’s flag, the rainbow flag and the rehabbed Proud Boys hashtag. “Love is love,” piped up the Royal Canadian Navy.
It’s not clear who launched the movement. But “Star Trek” veteran George Takei appeared to be one of the first to pitch the idea on Thursday.
Takei posted a photo Sunday with his husband of 12 years. “We’re proud of all of the gay folks who have stepped up to reclaim our pride in this campaign,” he tweeted.
Bobby Berk, host of the Netflix series “Queer Eye,” tweeted: “Look at these cute lil #ProudBoys,” and included a photo with his husband. “Retweet and make this hashtag about love, not hate,” he added.
Florida Democratic state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith tweeted Sunday that he’s joining “thousands of gay men on social media to reclaim #ProudBoys from white supremacists and bigoted neo-nazis. Let’s replace the hashtag with images of love, positivity, and true PRIDE!”
Enrique Tarrio, the leader of the hater Proud Boys, claimed that he found the movement “hysterical.” He told CNN: “This isn’t something that’s offensive to us. We don’t care who people sleep with. People think it’s going to bother us. It doesn’t.”
Tarrio appeared to miss the point of replacing his group’s message of hate with love. If it’s successful, it’s not Tarrio’s gang that people will think of when they hear the name. Instead, they’ll envision rainbow flags and making out.
It also turned out that Tarrio — and his boys — weren’t so cool with the love resistance after all. He griped on Parler (his group has been banned from Twitter since 2018) that the left was trying to turn the Proud Boys’ name into “a slur,” Forbes reported. Other followers were apoplectic.