One of the leaders of the Proud Boys, the far-right group that President Donald Trump told to “stand back and stand by” during a presidential debate, is trying to rebrand the organization as explicitly white supremacist and anti-Semitic.
Kyle Chapman, the founder of a “tactical defense arm” of the Proud Boys known for engaging in street violence, claimed in a message on the encrypted chat app Telegram that he has staged a “coup” against the current leader of the Proud Boys — a Black man named Enrique Tarrio.
“We will confront the Zionist criminals who wish to destroy our civilization,” Chapman wrote after using other bigoted language. “We recognize that the West was built by the White Race alone and we owe nothing to any other race.”
Chapman also wrote that he has renamed the group the Proud Goys, referring to the Jewish term for non-Jews that neo-Nazis have tried to appropriate and use to symbolize their anti-Semitism.
The move comes as the Proud Boys are preparing to protest with other right-wing groups in Washington, D.C., on behalf of Trump’s unsubstantiated claims that the presidential election was stolen from him through widespread voter fraud.
It is unclear how Chapman’s call has been received by others in the group. Other Proud Boys channels on Telegram have not reflected the changes he wants to institute, and a message from the administrator of one said, “No, we are not the Proud Goys. No, Kyle didn’t stage a coup,” and then referred to him with an ableist slur.