On Wednesday night, a day after President Donald Trump failed to disown the Proud Boys during a presidential debate, telling them to “stand back and watch,” Vice Media CEO Nancy Dubuc sent an email. to his staff to reassure them that the media company has no current connection with McInnes.
“I’m sure we’re still trying to make sense of what was said during last night’s US presidential debate, but I wanted to write to you to clarify one thing: Gavin McInnes has no affiliation with VICE,” Dubuc said in his e-mail, obtained from CNN Business. “As the legacy of his role in founding the company grows from time to time, I want you all to be sure that any association he had with the company ended more than ten years ago in 2008. What he did next, including the Proud Boys foundation in 201
6 has nothing to do with VICE, our values or our people. “
McInnes may not have any affiliation with Vice Media at the moment. But he co-founded the alternative magazine that became what Vice Media is today, and worked for Vice for 14 years.
McInnes, along with Shane Smith and Suroosh Alvi, bought Voice of Montreal, a Canadian government-funded magazine, in 1994. According to a profile in The Guardian in 2008, the three took control of the magazine after an argument with the publisher. . They changed the name to Vice and later moved to New York City and expanded the magazine internationally.
According to a New Yorker profile in 2013, McInnes, under a pseudonym, wrote much of the content for Vice in its early days before they had a freelance budget, according to a New Yorker profile in 2013. He is also a co-author of several books. by Vice.
In a vulgar Q&A with the New York Press in 2002, McInnes said he was pleased that the hipsters in Williamsburg, the Brooklyn neighborhood where Vice is based, were White. After a letter-writing campaign by a black reader, Vice apologized for McInnes’s comment, the New York Times later reported. He was also quoted by the Times as saying, “I love being white and I think it’s something to be very proud of. I don’t want our culture to be diluted. We have to close the boundaries now and let everyone assimilate into a Western, white, of Anglophone life. ” An unnamed former staff member told the New Yorker “[t]This was the beginning of the end “of McInnes’ time with Vice.
By the time McInnes left Vice in 2008, the company had invested in digital video creation and gained notoriety for its provocative documentaries. Vice was well on its way to becoming a darling of media investors who, at its likely peak in 2017, would be valued at $ 5.7 billion. McInnes left “due to creative differences with his partners,” according to the New York Times.
McInnes founded the Proud Boys in 2016. He resigned in 2018, but in 2019 he sued the Southern Poverty Law Center for designating the organization a hate group. Officially, the group describes itself as organized around the belief that “West Is The Best” – what they call Western chauvinism – and rejects the label of white supremacists and alt-right. They say they oppose both racism and “racial guilt”. They advocate closing borders, gun rights and “worshiping the housewife”. In a statement to CNN Business Thursday, McInnes dismissed the notion that the Proud Boys are white racists or supremacists.
Current Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio told CNN’s Elle Reeve, who previously worked for Vice, that he was delighted with the president’s comment for the Proud Boys to “stand back and watch.”
In Wednesday’s staff note Dubuc wrote: “I hope our work, our culture and our leadership speak for themselves unequivocally, but let me say – to leave no doubt – that we all condemn white supremacy, racism. and hatred in all forms. “
Vice also covered the Proud Boys and other far-right groups extensively, Dubuc noted.
“Our award-winning teams have spearheaded the task of holding the Proud Boys and other similar groups accountable through dogged and steadfast investigative reporting. Our teams have produced world-class alt-right reporting from Charlottesville to Louisville and most recently to Portland, “Dubuc wrote. “Thank you for your unwavering commitment to continuing this work – and if someone gives you a hard time, send it my way. I’m happy to set the record straight.”
Vice Media declined to comment beyond Dubuc’s email.
When CNN Business reached out to McInnes via text message about what Dubuc had written, he responded by saying, “I created that brand and defined the content from its inception until I left in 2008. My concise irreverence haunts it. still as the ghost of Banquo “.