“When they go low, go lower. Mace them back, throw bricks at their head. Let’s destroy them.”
These are the words of the headline speaker on the upcoming ‘Rebel Cruise’, taking place on a ship owned by one of the world’s largest cruise holiday companies.
Last week, Rebel Media, the Canadian based far-right ‘alternative media’ platform announced a Caribbean cruise setting off from Miami in November. The week-long trip, taking in Honduras, Belize, and Mexico costs as much as $2,075 for a room with a balcony.
The Rebel Cruise will take place on the Norwegian Getaway, a ship owned and operated by Norwegian Cruise Line, who describe themselves as having “a 50-year history of breaking the boundaries of traditional cruising”.
HOPE not hate contacted the company last week to raise our concerns about them allowing Rebel Media to use one of their ships but they have, as yet, refused to act.
Who is Rebel Media?
Rebel Media is a Canadian alternative media organisation founded by “counter-jihad” activist Ezra Levant and Brian Lilley in February 2015, and boasts several of the alt-light’s (the part of the alt-right concerned with culture more than race) most recognisable figures as contributors.
HOPE not hate have written regularly about Rebel Media, including its UK branch which now employs the prominent Islamophobic activist with a long track record of violence and convictions, Stephen Lennon (aka Tommy Robinson). In fact, it is for Rebel Media that Lennon has made the extremely controversial ‘TrollWatch’ series, which involves him storming the offices of newspapers and turning up at the homes of political opponents.
However, Lennon’s ban from America means he won’t be joining the Rebel Cruise alongside Rebel Media’s most controversial host, Gavin McInnes.
Links to Charlottesville
The headline speaker on the Rebel Cruise is Gavin McInnes, known for his extreme online content and as the leader of the alt-right linked “Proud Boys”, set up in 2016 as a fraternal, “Western chauvinist” organisation.
According to Newsweek Jason Kessler, the organiser of the Unite The Right Charlottesville demonstration, is a “newly sworn in member of the ‘Proud Boys’”.
After McInnes distanced himself from the event in advance of the demonstration, Kessler tweeted “The VA Proud Boys that care about defending Western Civilization and people who built it will be at #UniteTheRight, polo or no.”
In the wake of the tragic events, both McInnes and Rebel Media more generally have condemned the demonstration and sought to distance themselves from the tragedy. However, such condemnations sound hollow and self-serving, especially considering the Proud Boys and McInnes himself, have a history of violence.
For example, to achieve the “fourth degree” of the Proud Boys you have to “kick the crap out of an antifa” and the group has a militant wing called, “The Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights” (FOAK), headed by Kyle Chapman (aka Based Stick Man), which is known for its violence. Associated with FOAK is Augustus Invictus, a far-right activist who was due to speak at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville.
But worse still, McInnes himself has, openly promoted violence against political opponents in the past, stating, “When they go low, go lower. Mace them back, throw bricks at their head. Let’s destroy them.” He has also been filmed punching an anti-fascist protestor and released a video on Rebel Media called “Fighting “anti-fascists” is fun!”.
In the wake of this weekend’s terrible events, McInnes and those that populate the more moderate wing of the alternative right – the so-called alt-light – have tried to play a double game.
They echo many of the same views as the more racist end of the movement, excuse the alt-right’s extremeness and play down their violence and sometimes even collaborate with them. McInnes himself, who claims to want nothing to do with the alt-right, has produced a video called “10 Things I hate About Jews”, tweeted about ‘white genocide’ and produced articles such as “Transphobia Is Perfectly Natural”.
The Southern Poverty Law Centre showed in detail how despite his supposed protestations regarding alt-right links, his Proud Boys have inadvertently become, “the most fertile “in-real-life” recruiting ground for white nationalists and anti-Semites within today’s organized far-right.”
But when something terrible happens like the weekend’s events in Charlottesville, McInnes (and the alt-light more generally) wash their hands of responsibility and offer hollow condemnations.
Norwegian Cruise Line Must Take Action
The company responsible for hosting the Rebel Cruise, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., operate a fleet of 25 ships with approximately 50,400 berths that visit more than 510 destinations worldwide.
We contacted Norwegian Cruise Line for comment and they responded with the following statement:
This is a truly global operation, a publicly traded company, and one of the most popular choices of holiday destinations for many tourists in the US and around the world.
We believe they must take a stand against racism, homophobia, sexism, transphobia, and hatred of all kinds.
We are calling on Norwegian Cruise Line and their president and chief executive officer, Frank J. Del Rio to remove the platform for someone like Gavin McInnes, who legitimises and normalises the same ideas as those aired in Charlottesville, and who wants to use their services to spread his hateful agenda.
Dr Joe Mulhall is Senior Researcher at HOPE not hate. Formerly he was a visiting lecturer at Royal Holloway, University of London where he also completed his PhD on the postwar far right. He has published extensively on the international far right and discussed his research on the BBC, CNN and Channel 4 news among others. If you have a tip, get in touch at [email protected]Twitter