Less than two days before a group of white supremacists and alt-right followers descend upon Washington D.C. for its second Unite the Right rally, Twitter has suspended the account of Gavin McInnes, the leader of the Proud Boys, and a number of its other associated accounts.
According to BuzzFeed, Twitter suspended the accounts of McInnes and the blue-check verified @ProudBoysUSA for breaking its rules.
“We can confirm that these accounts have been suspended from Twitter and Periscope for violating our policy prohibiting violent extremist groups,” a Twitter spokesperson told the website.
According to BuzzFeed, at least 13 other Twitter accounts related to the Proud Boys also were taken down.
The Proud Boys—which formed in 2016 and which is a huge supporter of President Donald Trump—first began receiving widespread recognition at last year’s Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, and the Southern Poverty Law Center has classified it as a hate group. Members of the Proud Boys, meanwhile, describe themselves as a “pro-West fraternal organization” for men who “refuse to apologize for creating the modern world.”
McInnes has said that the group is neither racist nor homophobic. That, however, didn’t stop Twitter from taking action on Friday.
“All this stuff is part of the conservative purge, getting the right off social media, to try to stop Trump from getting reelected,” McInnes said, via BuzzFeed. “He’s already won; the ship has sailed. I think it will have zero effect on my reach or on the Proud Boys. We’ll always come back.”
Twitter has been under immense pressure this week for the lack of action it’s taken against right-wing talk show host Alex Jones. Though Facebook, YouTube, Spotify, and iTunes all suspended the accounts of Jones and InfoWars, Twitter has allowed him to remain on the platform.
About 20 InfoWars tweets that seemingly violated Twitter policy mysteriously disappeared this week, and a Twitter spokesperson said it was likely done by somebody who had access to Jones’ accounts.