The Proud Boys are known for violent and extremist activities, as well as hateful rhetoric against a range of groups, including women, Jews, Muslims, and the LGBT community. But their name has an unexpected origin: It started out like a joke, according to their founder Gavin McInnes.
In this YouTube video, which was posted in 2018, at the 2-minute mark, McInnes described the origin of the name:
We’re called Proud Boys because I went to one of my kids’ music recitals and some ponce got up there and while everyone’s playing the piano and the violin and doing stuff they tried, he gets up and he goes, “Proud of your boy, I’ll make you proud of your boy.” It’s some song from “Aladdin.” And I was looking around for the dad because I thought there’s no way this dad is proud of his boy, and of course, he was the child of a single mom…duh! His mother told him, yes sing a song, that’s a talent, and there was no dad to say no you’re not, play the piano for christ’s sakes.
The Southern Poverty Law Center also reported that the origin of the name came from the “Aladdin” song, “Proud of Your Boy.”
Ironically, that particular “Aladdin” song was written by Jewish composer-lyricist team of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, the latter of whom was gay. The song was originally written for the 1992 animated movie but was cut, then later revived for the 2011 stage production on Broadway.
The Proud Boys claim to have an “anti-political correctness” and “anti-white guilt” agenda, but members’ actions have revealed more violent and discriminatory intentions. Proud Boys members have spewed homophobic slurs during violent attacks, and McInnes once recorded a video titled “10 Things I Hate About Jews” before changing the title.
Here is a video of the “Aladdin” song as it was performed on Broadway:
Given that there is video of the founder of the Proud Boys describing the origin of the name, we rate this claim as “Correct Attribution.”