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Fred Perry retires polo design embraced by far-right group Proud Boys

Fred Perry retires polo design embraced by far-right group Proud Boys
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Clothing company Fred Perry has announced it has stopped selling a signature polo shirt that has been co-opted by the far-right group the Proud Boys, worn as a sort of unofficial uniform. 

"Fred Perry does not support and is in no way affiliated with the Proud Boys. It is incredibly frustrating that this group has appropriated our Black/Yellow/Yellow twin tipped shirt and subverted our Laurel Wreath to their own ends," a statement from the company read.

"That association is something we must do our best to end. We therefore made the decision to stop selling the Black/Yellow/Yellow twin tipped shirt in the US in 2019 and we will not sell it there or in Canada again until we’re satisfied that its association with the Proud Boys has ended."

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The company explained that before it was worn by Proud Boys, the laurel wreath symbol and polo shirt symbolized "inclusivity, diversity and independence."

The Proud Boys, which has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, describe themselves as “a pro-Western fraternal organization for men who refuse to apologize for creating the modern world; aka Western Chauvinists." They have been tied to violent protests and are known to show up to counter anti-Trump protests with their own demonstrations. 

Fred Perry has repeatedly denounced the group since it began gaining popularity leading up to the 2016 presidential election. 

In its announcement ending sales of its polo shirt, the company highlighted a quote from its chairman in 2017 when asked about the Proud Boys wearing its clothing.

“Fred was the son of a working class socialist MP who became a world tennis champion at a time when tennis was an elitist sport. He started a business with a Jewish businessman from Eastern Europe. It’s a shame we even have to answer questions like this. No, we don’t support the ideals or the group that you speak of. It is counter to our beliefs and the people we work with,” chairman John Flynn said at the time.