In February, Canada said the group posed an active security threat and played a “pivotal role” in the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol in January by supporters of then-president Donald Trump. U.S. authorities have charged several members of the Proud Boys in connection with the Jan. 6 assault.
“The truth is, we were never terrorists or a white supremacy group,” the statement posted by the administrator of the official Proud Boys channel on Telegram said.
“We are electricians, carpenters, financial advisors, mechanics, etc. More than that, we are fathers, brothers, uncles and sons,” it added.
Founded in 2016, the Proud Boys began as an organization protesting political correctness and perceived constraints on masculinity in the United States and Canada, and grew into a group that embraced street fighting.
The group’s founder, Gavin McInnes, is a Canadian who lives in the United States.
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said in February that the domestic intelligence forces had become increasingly worried about the group.