The Proud Boys is an organization that Washington state law enforcement documents revealed to be discussed as an “extremist group” by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Despite this, the group currently handles its money on a payment processor facilitated by the world’s largest online retailer.
The Proud Boys is a right-wing men’s club and SPLC-designated hate group founded by CRTV host Gavin McInnes in 2016 that has become a fixture in the press due to its proximity to the American white nationalist movement and McInnes’ encouragement that members engage in street brawls against counter-protesters at their events.
Amazon’s payment processing service, Amazon Pay, currently services the “uhuru.store” Proud Boys merchandise shop. “Uhuru,” displayed in the web store’s URL, is a slogan the Proud Boys reportedly picked up from a YouTube video “in which an activist talks to white people about reparations.” Amazon Pay’s interface is displayed on the site’s checkout page.
BuzzFeed reported November 9 that Amazon removed several pieces of Proud Boys merchandise from its online storefront. Right Wing Watch has contacted Amazon for comment and will update this article if the company responds.
For sale on the storefront is a cluster of memorabilia that includes t-shirts promoting the QAnon conspiracy theory and others declaring that Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet—a fascist responsible for the murder of thousands of his regime’s critics—“did nothing wrong.” Another shirt labels its wearer a “stealth commie killer” and challenge coins (small medallions carried by the group’s members) advertise themselves for the various “degrees” of Proud Boy membership, the highest level of which requires engaging in violence for the group’s cause.
The Uhuru store has served as a primary method of funding for the group’s operations, recently hosting a legal defense fundraiser for Proud Boys members who were arrested for brawling in the streets of New York City alongside skinhead gang members, and also selling raffle tickets for a Las Vegas Proud Boys meetup. VDARE, a white nationalist publication, promoted the legal defense fundraiser alongside right-wing media figures including Ann Coulter and Chadwick Moore, who directed their followers to contribute via a link to the online store.
Proud Boys members also used the site to fundraise for an August 4 rally in Portland, Oregon, where Right Wing Watch spotted numerous members of extremists groups.
Sabo said he made the shirts on livestream, I’ll try and track it down. He said he made the limited addition shirts to raise money for the Aug 4th Portland rally. They were selling them at the Uhuru Store for $40 bucks a pop. pic.twitter.com/gqsZAFvVO9
— Official Alt-Left (@Kherman112) October 18, 2018
The Proud Boys used to sell merchandise on a site called “Proud of Your Store,” which took its name from the same “Proud of Your Boy” Aladdin song from which the group adopted its name.
However, that storefront displays an “under construction” splash, explaining it had been “banned by Shopify, PayPal, and Stripe” and promising a “grand re-opening” on Thanksgiving. As a report from Right Wing Watch and ThinkProgress explained earlier this year, extremists heavily rely on online payment processors to enable their operations and tech companies have been rather slow to crack down on the hate groups that use their services.
McInnes and his Proud Boys have been all but chased off the internet through a series of bans, suspensions, and de-platformings, akin to the pushback that Infowars conspiracy theorist Alex Jones experienced in August. However marginalized, the Proud Boys continue to be able to finance travel to events around the country, where they frequently stir up havoc and endanger communities.