Politics

Bad Faith

Faith Goldy, Gavin McInnes, and our Canadian problem.
by Jim Swift
March 7, 2019
Featured Image
(Art by Hannah Yoest; photos Getty/Shutterstock)

Over the years, Canada has sent America many good people: David Frum, Louise Penny, William Shatner. But, to paraphrase President Trump, when Canada sends its people, they’re not always sending their best. They sometimes send people that have lots of problems. And they bring those problems with to us.

For instance, there is Gavin McInnes, a British-born Canadian who has aided in the creation of two small-bore American institutions: Vice Magazine and the Proud Boys.

McInnes was with Vice from its founding in the early 1990s to 2008, when he left due to creative differences. He bounced around various gigs, writing books and promoting his brand of shock comedy with guerilla tactics. Like metal shavings to a magnet, he eventually landed at Fox News in 2009.

Fox wasn’t a full-time gig, though. So from 2015 to 2017, he hosted a self-titled show on Compound Media that was peak McInnes in its desperate search for attention. He quit Fox in 2017, went to a new post, the Canadian outfit Rebel Media, and promptly published “10 Secrets About Working at Fox.”

You may not have heard about Rebel Media, but I bet you know some of their alumni: Laura Loomer, Lauren Southern, Jack Posobiec, Faith Goldy, and Seb Gorka.

From there, McInnes landed a show called “Get off My Lawn” on CRTV in late 2017. CRTV grew out of a website called Conservative Review and became an outlet for conservatives who were tired of the RINO cucks on Fox News. CRTV’s first big draws were famed radio host Mark Levin and Michelle Malkin, a conservative blogger and pundit.

And with his newfound stardom on the right, McInnes decided it was time to create the the Proud Boys. It’s unclear if the Proud Boys are a group or a cult. Here are some of the terms of joining and advancement on McInnes’s blog:

REQUIREMENTS:

1st degree

  1. Declare yourself a Proud Boy

2nd degree

  1. 5 or more dudes beat the shit out of you until you can name 5 breakfast cereals. This has to be filmed if Gavin McInnes or a Proud Boy rep is not present. Avoid blows to the head or nuts. Ribs aren’t great either.
  2. If he can’t name 5 or taps out, no 2nd degree.

3rd degree

  1. Tattoo.
  2. You’re 3rd degree is not complete until you have tackled 1st and 2nd.

As the Daily Beast’s Will Sommer wrote in his Right Richter newsletter: “This sounds like nonsense, but it’s real.”

The Proud Boys were labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center—which, on its own doesn’t mean all that much. But in this case, like a stopped clock, the SPLC was correct. After this designation, McInnes’s professional life started to spin out of control. Which tends to happen when you create a monster.

His creation of the Proud Boys resulted in his being banned by Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, PayPal, and YouTube. McInnes believes this was “a concerted effort to de-platform me.”

He tends to see himself at the center of a lot of conspiracies. For instance, after a violent skirmish outside the Metropolitan Republican Club followed a McKinnes speech last fall Vox’s Jane Coaston wrote that “For his part, McInnes appears to think that the violence was a setup.”

Last December, CRTV merged with Glenn Beck’s The Blaze, forming BlazeTV. Two CRTV legacy hires didn’t make it to the new venture, Michelle Malkin and Gavin McInnes.

But shortly after the merger, Glenn Beck, founder of The Blaze, defended McInnes and blamed CRTV for the firing, saying that he had had nothing to do with it.

Last month, McInnes filed a lawsuit against the Southern Poverty Law Center for labeling the Proud Boys a hate group, arguing it renders him “socially despicable and ‘radioactive’ because of his alleged ‘hate group’ and ‘extremist’ sympathies.”

McInnes’s lawsuit is not expected to go anywhere, but that hardly matters. He’s back at Rebel Media, for now. Oh Canada.

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While McInnes has used Rebel Media as a fallback, failed Toronto mayoral candidate Faith Goldy has used it as a springboard to celebrity among Americans who think that both Fox News and CRTV are too squishy. Because, you see, Faith Goldy got herself fired from Rebel Media for being too extreme. Imagine that.

Known for her confident, Ann Coulter-esque booming voice, Goldy promotes racist conspiracy theories about “white genocide” and trutherism about a shooting at a Quebec mosque. She advocates for a return to the crusades. What put her on the map in America was her fawning coverage of the 2017 “Unite the Right” gathering in Charlottesville, Virginia, that resulted in the murder of a young woman. Goldy’s dispatches prompted resignations from some of her Rebel colleagues. Rebel Media founder Ezra Levant says he had instructed her not to cover it. It’s unclear how this misunderstanding took place.

The final straw for Goldy’s relationship with Rebel Media was her appearance on a podcast affiliated with the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer. In a statement to fans post-firing, Goldy wrote: “Since that video, it has come to the public’s attention that I appeared on a podcast affiliated with the Daily Stormer while in Virginia. I made a poor decision that has had unintended negative personal and professional consequences on those I care about most.”

By happy coincidence, McInnes left Rebel Media for CRTV the same day Goldy was fired. It must have been a busy day at the office.


The Cut published a long profile of Goldy written by a woman who had known her in high school. It included this bit from an interview Goldy gave to Scottish alt-right YouTube personality Colin Robertson:

“[Goldy] describes life after being fired as “completely liberating.” Charlottesville helped her to clarify her views and see who her people were. ‘We don’t have many friends, but hell, we’ve got a fighting cause and we believe in our future,’ she said. Faith also quoted Richard Spencer, who is one of America’s most prominent white-nationalist figureheads: ‘You have to be willing to become a villain in order to make change in this society.’”

Liberating, indeed. Post-Rebel, Goldy pushed pseudoscientific claims popular on the alt-right about soybeans, saying: “Soy is giving you b*ch tits & Leftism. This isn’t a meme, it’s literally destroying us from within,” linking to an InfoWars video by Paul Joseph Watson professing “the truth” about “soy boys.” (Her tweet has since been deleted.) This was a progression from when, in 2014, she was promoting naturopathic cancer cures.

In December of 2017, Goldy turned the dial from 11 to 14, reciting the infamous “14 words” and, after much attention and criticism, doubling down with a proud lack of contrition for doing so. This got her banned from Patreon and PayPal, but not Twitter or YouTube.

In 2018, Goldy decided to run for Mayor of Toronto. The city that had elected a corrupt drug addict as mayor just nine years earlier found her too extreme. She got less than 4 percent of the vote.

However, her quixotic long-shot bid was, funnily enough, something of a cause on the American right. Prominent voices in American conservatism promoted her mayoral run and defended her against claims of racism, even going so far as to suggest she was “being over-punished for testing the sensitivities of political correctness.” She won the endorsement of Iowa Republican Congressman Steve King. Of course.

King later backtracked, saying he didn’t know whether or not Goldy was a white supremacist. And, like Goldy with the “14 words” King later got into hot water for failing to see how terms like “white supremacy” were bad. King was stripped by House Republicans of all of his committee assignments, in no small part due to his embrace of Goldy.

And yet, earlier this month King’s Twitter account, again, promoted Goldy on her newest adventure: American politics. Goldy was upset that American Conservative Union chief Matt Schlapp did not challenge liberal commentator Van Jones’ views on illegal immigration and crime in their discussion on the main stage at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference, saying Jones was offering a “bullsh*t talking point.” Goldy was not granted a credential to the conference.

However, Goldy was around CPAC in her new capacity as a video personality for Peter Brimelow’s white nationalist website VDARE.com. Her first big interview there? Former CRTV host and VDARE contributor Michelle Malkin, who had just mocked the ghost of the late Arizona Senator John McCain on the main stage, to much applause.

Goldy’s first video promoted a conspiracy that Trump’s two hour stemwinder at CPAC was actually co-opted by Matt Schlapp and his wife, White House aide Mercedes Schlapp, suggesting their influence made him sound more like Jeb Bush and less like, well, one of them. Malkin agreed, saying, “Our enemies are not just from without, they are from within.”

Someday soon, Goldy is likely to make herself too toxic for VDARE, too. The only real question is which outlet on the right will be dumb enough to embrace her after next.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Mark Levin and Michelle Malkin co-founded Conservative Review. The site existed before their involvement. We regret the error.

Jim Swift

Jim Swift is a senior editor at The Bulwark.