#DeportGavin, The Proud Boys, and Provocateurs: What happens next to one of the media’s most controversial figures?
Gavin McInnes’ story is an interesting tale of caution. The controversial and polarizing figure has now been completely deplatformed.
Gavin has had a rough year. After being banned from Twitter this August and subsequently banned from Facebook and Instagram in the autumn, along with all Proud Boys related groups being deleted as well, Gavin has essentially been uprooted from the media platforms we use on the day to day.
Controversy is nothing new to McInnes, who since his days as the co-founder of Vice Media, has attracted varying levels of negative attention while also building a decently large fan-base. As early on as 2002 we find McInnes’ name appear negatively for a quote he made during an interview along with his other Vice co-founders in the New York Press.
Gavin’s history of controversy
According to McInnes, the interviewer was an “insufferable, self hating white guy,” asking them questions like “don’t you hate being in Williamsburg around these hipsters?” to which McInnes replied, “at least they’re white.”
McInnes claims it was a context rut, arguing that the photo that accompanied the article made it relevant to the characters they were portraying: A soccer hooligan (Shane smith, left) a nazi skinhead (McInnes, middle) and a victim of a hate crime (Siroosh Alvi, right)
Another more recent and memorable media storm that struck McInnes is when he called Jada Pinkett-Smith a “monkey actress.” McInnes again claims that this is contextual rut, and that people are taking taking the line out of context, saying that it was a joke.
“I called Jada Pinkett-Smith a monkey actress. The context here is she was talking about #OscarsSoWhite and she was boycotting the oscars, which was dumb because the awards go to blacks disproportionately more than they appear in the population, so there’s no need for your stupid videos, Jada. But I was talking about one of my kids who thought that when he sees a documentary with monkeys in it, it’s the same monkeys, and he goes “I like this monkey actress.” so I said, “Yeah, Jada Pinkett-Smith is my favorite monkey actress”. I didn’t say that to him, but I said it as a joke on my %&^#ing comedy show!”
We won’t go through all of McInnes’ controversies or hot takes, as there are too many to name. A plethora of his views and opinions can be found on YouTube, with varying levels of controversy. Everything from mainstream conservative ideals to pseudo-misogyny under the thin, cheap veil of humor can be identified.
McInnes defends himself by claiming that the context of what he’s saying is essential. He himself has a video on the Rebel Media (to which he was a contributor of) where he goes through what he considers to be his 15 most controversial moments.
Gavin’s role in the Proud Boys
Then, in 2016, McInnes founded now infamous Proud Boys. On an interview with Joe Rogan in February 2017, he’s quoted:
“I started this gang called the Proud Boys. We have chapters all over the world, we meet once a month, we get drunk and– uh, it’s like the Elks Lodge. Like [Free] Masons, or whatever.”
The Proud Boys, as an idea, stuck. Some time during 2016, men that declared themselves Proud Boys would go to bars across the country. Starting fairly innocently enough as a group of men who love Trump politics and enjoy drinking a few too many beers, it quickly veered into something that no one, including McInnes, saw coming.
The Proud Boys began to appear more and more in the political news streams with many events involving political violence. Violence that McInnes himself did not actively disavow and at certain points even championed.
Many may remember an incident in Halifax that involved what are now called the Halifax Five, an incident that involved Proud Boys who were Canadian Force members interrupting a Mi’kmaq ceremony on Canada Day.
The Proud Boys have now been identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center, classing them under the group “General Hate.” The FBI reportedly had the Proud Boys listed as a hate group. The FBI has since come out and said this is untrue.
In recent weeks, McInnes has officially dissociate himself from the Proud Boys. As a mostly legal move, the group is now left leaderless, and will surely live on past his resignation.
But where does that leave Gavin?
Left-wing activists pushing to get Gavin deported after deplatforming
During the time that McInnes was going through his social media expulsion, he was still employed by conservative commentator Mark Levin. Earlier this month, Levin’s CRTV merged with Glenn Beck’s The Blaze, which subsequently severed their ties with Gavin McInnes and host Michelle Malkin, leaving Gavin without a full time gig.
And now comes in the hashtags. Starting some time in mid-November on Twitter, the hashtag #DeportGavin gained some legs. The world has seen Gavin’s antics, and the kangaroo court that is Twitter has decided that enough is enough; Gavin should be kicked out of the United States, and return to his own country. Canada.
Their logic here is easy enough to follow. Gavin McInnes, the now unemployed former leader of a hate group, is only in the United States because of a green card. He should be sent back.
There’s so many things to unravel in this whole situation. Since Alex Jones and Infowars were banned from Youtube, Twitter, Facebook and the like, pandora’s box has been opened.
Gavin McInnes now is in a situation where he has no platform to express himself. The details as to what he did and what amount of responsibility he has over others actions, or whether he actually incites those actions, is all up to debate.
Provocateurs have a role in society
What is the role of provocateurs in society? Self explanatory, it’s to provoke. Making statements that you don’t fully believe in to attract eyes and ears is seemingly effective. All press is good press, right?
But what happens when your words, that you may not fully believe, or that you’ve purposely exaggerated or inflated with colorful language to try and be humorous, come back to haunt you? Who should be the judge of whether what you say is permissible?
Who decides whether what you said is hateful, or if what you even mean what you say? Who’s to say when something is a joke or not, and if it is a joke, who decides if you’re allowed to say these things? Are you allowed to be offensive? If so, to what degree?
We as a society need to do some reflecting on these questions before we decide that someone is unfit to share content online. What Gavin has done can be seen as heinous and unforgivable to some.
But there are plenty of people out there who say that the accusations are void of context.
Who decides who is right? Let us know.