Gavin McInnes, the founder of the Proud Boys, has filed a lawsuit against the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) for designating the right-wing organization a “hate group.”
McInnes filed the lawsuit on Monday, the Daily Beast reported.
In the complaint, he accuses the SPLC of defamation and tortious interference with economic advantage, saying the designation has cost him business opportunities.
“Mr. McInnes is essentially an untouchable, unable to retain or be considered for gainful employment in his line of work,” the lawsuit alleges, according to the Daily Beast.
McInnes is asking a court to order the SPLC to stop saying he is linked to a hate group.
“To paraphrase FDR, judge us by the enemies we’ve made," the SPLC said in a statement to The Hill. "Gavin McInnes has a history of making inflammatory statements about Muslims, women, and the transgender community. The fact that he’s upset with SPLC tells us that we’re doing our job exposing hate and extremism. His case is meritless.”
The Proud Boys describe themselves as “a pro-Western fraternal organization for men who refuse to apologize for creating the modern world; aka Western Chauvinists."
McInnes, also a co-founder of Vice Media, left the group in November and has denied that it is a white nationalist or alt-right organization, recently describing it as a “drinking club” he started “as a joke.”
A number of Proud Boys members were arrested in October over their involvement in a violent brawl in Manhattan.
Following that incident, a number of tech and media companies including Amazon, PayPal, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and BlazeTV cut ties with the Proud Boys and McInnes.
—Updated at 4:03 p.m.