Fred Perry is pulling one of its polo shirts in the United States and Canada to break association with the far-right political group, Proud Boys, who have adopted the Black/Yellow/Yellow twin tipped shirt as their unofficial uniform and appropriated the laurel wreath into their logo.
The all-male Proud Boys group, founded by VICE media co-founder Gavin McInnes in 2016, have been classified as an "extremist group" by the FBI and as an "alt-right fight club" by the Southern Poverty Law Centre.
The Proud Boys are known for their violent clashes with BLM demonstrations. The group's "western chauvinistic" identity often coincides with racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, and white nationalist ideologies. Meanwhile, their recruitment process – typically targeting 15-30-year-old suburban white males – includes taking a vow not to masturbate, being repeatedly punched while reciting cereal brands (actually), getting a tattoo, and getting into a fight with an antifascist.
In last night's parodical presidential debate, Trump refused to condemn white supremacy and the actions of right-wing militia in the United States. After a back and forth by moderator Christopher Wallace, Trump singled out the Proud Boys and ordered them to "stand back and stand by" – a message that has now been incorporated into the Proud Boys logo on Parler, a social media app popular with conservatives and Trump supporters.
Fred Perry swiftly posted a statement to their website:
To be absolutely clear, if you see any Proud Boys materials or products featuring our Laurel Wreath or any Black/Yellow/Yellow related items, they have absolutely nothing to do with us, and we are working with our lawyers to pursue any unlawful use of our brand.
Frankly we can’t put our disapproval in better words than our Chairman did when questioned in 2017:
“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,” John Flynn, Fred Perry Chairman 2017.
Head over to Fred Perry to read the statement in full.