Gavin McInnes’ ongoing fight against his detractors has spilled over into his tony neighborhood outside New York City ― and a letter he penned, obtained exclusively by HuffPost, signals that he’s losing that battle, too.
McInnes, the founder of the violent, misogynistic street gang known as the Proud Boys, found a safe space in Larchmont, a quaint, upscale village in Westchester County.
The beautiful waterside community just north of the big city insulates McInnes’ wife and three young children from his daily life as an extremist gang leader who incites violence and espouses hate on any social media platform that’ll accept him.
McInnes’ family is shielded from what the rest of the nation sees on a regular basis: the rampant racism and misogyny that made him famous among chuds online; the punch-happy gang he started that commits violent acts across the country; his associations with white supremacists and skinheads and conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones; his predilection for playing with himself on camera; the list goes on.
In Larchmont, McInnes found an escape from himself. That is, until his community found out who he was.
Some local residents, who asked that their names not be published for fear of retribution from McInnes, said they weren’t aware of his status as leader of a neo-fascist organization until several Proud Boys made national headlines in October for attacking protesters in Manhattan. They were charged with assault and rioting, and McInnes’ neighbors began to take notice, as The Daily Beast reported at the time.
Today, there are signs dotting lawns in McInnes’ neighborhood that read, “Hate Has No Home Here.” They’re passed out by local religious organizations and displayed proudly by locals.
“We stand together as a community, and violence and hate are not tolerated here,” one resident told HuffPost. “Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but Gavin? What he’s doing is a radical departure from discourse. He makes a conscious decision to incite violence and hate. We have our sign up because we want people to know this is a safe and friendly home.”
Now McInnes’ demons are catching up with him in his own community. On Friday, HuffPost obtained a letter penned by McInnes and dropped off at the homes of several residents who had the signs displayed on their properties. In a three-page, computer-typed screed dated Dec. 28, McInnes tells numerous and blatant lies about the Proud Boys, his status as their leader and his intolerant views.
HuffPost is not publishing McInnes’ letter, as it misrepresents his past actions, on which HuffPost has reported extensively.
He claims that his wife is a Democrat in an apparent attempt to level with his neighbors (public records show that she’s a registered voter but not party-affiliated); that he is a “businessman and humorist” (he is indeed the co-founder of Vice Media and therefore a onetime businessman, but his incitement of violence and his public comments about rape, women and LGBTQ communities are anything but funny); and that the Proud Boys are merely a “drinking club I started several years ago as a joke” (that’s simply not true).
Other media outlets and reporters, like ABC News’ Paula Faris, have treated McInnes as a spectacle and “provocateur” rather than an extremist gang leader, giving him room to deflect and deny things he’s said and done. Faris’ 10-minute feature was particularly egregious in the eyes of some Westchester County residents. In her segment, she did not disclose that she lives in the same neighborhood as McInnes and that his children attend the same school as hers.
Asked whether that social proximity should have been disclosed in the report, ABC News released a statement saying that Faris did her job in “pressing McInnes on the group’s history.”
Most of McInnes’ letter is nothing new anyway; he has backpedaled on his past before ― especially when he or his followers face consequences ― by lying or arguing that the whole thing was a joke. Most recently, he released a video on YouTube saying that he “quit” the Proud Boys, but then admitted in the same breath that he only said so to somehow alleviate the sentences of Proud Boys members who were jailed on assault charges.
What’s telling about the letter is that McInnes seems to argue that displaying an anti-hate sign is an inherent attack on his family.
“If you are liberal then you are, by definition, tolerant, and if you truly eschew hate, you know that loving your neighbor ― your actual neighbor ― is where tolerance begins,” he writes. “I am writing on behalf of my family to ask you to reconsider whether the message of your lawn sign moves our world and our village in the direction of love at all, or whether it sends a very different message instead.”
HuffPost spoke to several Larchmont residents who cited various reasons for displaying anti-hate signs in their neighborhood, not all of them having to do with McInnes. But they all agreed on one thing: McInnes is full of it.
“If you’re so tolerant, then put up a fucking sign in your yard, too, and stop being so narcissistic as to think that this is all about you,” said one resident.
Another said: “He thinks liberals are stupid and will buy into his B.S. ― as a ‘humorist,’ he should understand that the joke is on him!”
The letter, the neighbors said, isn’t going to end their peaceful act of protest ― at least until McInnes apologizes and provably ends his career as a gang leader.
McInnes didn’t respond to calls for comment for this story.