A Proud Boys leader told The Wall Street Journal that he is selling Black Lives Matter and liberal apparel through a secret online business after banks and card processing companies refused to work with him after the controversial organization gained increasing notoriety.
Enrique Tarrio, leader of the far-right group, said in April that the group had been struggling financially since January, when members appeared well-organized at the Capitol riot. Proud Boys in at least four states have been charged for their roles in the Jan. 6 attack.
“We’re bleeding,” Tarrio said in an April interview with The Wall Street Journal in reference to an online business that supports the group. “We’ve been bleeding money since January, like, hemorrhaging money.” Prior to the Capitol attack the Proud Boys appeared at events like the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017, and at numerous rallies for Donald Trump.
The business, called the 1776.shop is set to make tens of thousands of dollars less this year than last year as Tarrio remains unable to process orders made with credit and debit cards as banks and card processing companies take a stance against the group.
Livestreaming platform DLive, which participants in the riot used to livestream the rampage, banned Tarrio and other Proud Boys members from using the service after the attack.
PayPal and payment processor Stripe have both banned Tarrio. He continued to search for processors, although more than a dozen eventually banned him and his bank shut down his business account.
Twitter and Facebook banned accounts associated with the Proud Boys in 2018.
At the Proud Boys headquarters located in Miami, piles of unsold apparel sat in boxes during the spring months following the attack. Tarrio said some workers have been laid off, and office rent has been more difficult to cover.
Eventually, Tarrio came up with the idea to sell Black Lives Matter apparel and left-leaning merchandise with slogans like “Impeach 45.” Tarrio wouldn’t disclose the name of business and The Wall Street Journal said it cold not independently verify that it exists, but the newspaper said it witnessed a Proud Boys employee printing Black Lives Matter shirts.
On the day of the Capitol attack, a post from Tarrio’s 1776.shop on the Parler app advertised a T-shirt with the slogan “WAR.” The post said, “Deep penetration into the Peoples’ Capitol…They asked for it.” Tarrio said an employees manages the account but took responsibility for the post.
Tarrio wasn’t present at the riot as he had been arrested two days later for vandalizing a Black Lives Matter banner at a historic Black church in Washington, D.C., and was subsequently ordered to stay out of the district.
After the riot, Proud Boys members descended into finger-pointing and chaos. Several local chapters have distanced themselves from the national group. Data from a chat released Tuesday in a court filing by defense attorneys for Washington state Proud Boys leader Ethan Nordean shows that members grew concerned as the FBI ramped up its crackdown on those who participated in the riot.
“We are f–ked…they are coming for us,” one member wrote, CNN reported. The data from the chat was released the same day Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the Justice Department would be cracking down on domestic terrorism and extremism.
“The resolve and dedication with which the Justice Department has approached the investigation of the January 6 attack reflects the seriousness with which we take this assault on a mainstay of our democratic system,” Garland said Tuesday.
“We must not only bring our federal resources to bear, we must adopt a broader societal response to tackle the problem’s deeper roots.”