Fred Perry has told Proud Boys to stop wearing its iconic T-shirts ahead of a rally the right-wing group has organised in Portland, Oregon, on Saturday.
“It is incredibly frustrating that this group has appropriated our … twin tipped shirt and subverted our Laurel Wreath to their own ends,” the company said in a statement on its website.
“[We] do not support and [are] in no way affiliated with the Proud Boys,” the British heritage brand added, distancing itself from the self-declared “Western chauvinist” outfit.
“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.”
Some Proud Boys supporters appeared to be undeterred by Fred Perry’s message. “That moment when you make Fred Perry stop making a design they’ve had for decades. Maybe we’ll change our colors to one of their best sellers just to flex,” one wrote on Twitter.
At least several thousand Proud Boys are expected at Saturday’s rally in support of president Donald Tump and his “law and order” reelection campaign, as tensions boil over nationwide following prosecutors’ decision not to charge Kentucky officers over the killing of Breonna Taylor in Louisville in March.
Proud Boys has said the rally is a free speech event to support Trump and the police, restore law and order and condemn anti-fascists, “domestic terrorism” and “violent gangs of rioting felons” in the streets.
Local and state elected officials forcefully condemned the event and rushed to shore up law enforcement ranks as left-wing groups organized several rallies to oppose the Proud Boys’ message.
Oregon governor Kate Brown on Friday said she was sending state troopers to help the Portland police and was creating a unified command structure among city, regional and state law enforcement — a tactic that essentially circumvents a city ban on the use of tear gas as a crowd-control measure.
The state police said a “massive influx” of troopers would be in Portland by Saturday morning.
“This is a critical moment. We have seen what happens when armed vigilantes take matters into their own hands. We’ve seen it in Charlottesville, we’ve seen it in Kenosha and, unfortunately, we have seen it in Portland,” she said, referencing deaths in Virginia, Wisconsin and Oregon during clashes between those on the right and left of the political spectrum.
“The Proud Boys and Patriot Prayer groups have come time and time again looking for a fight, and the results are always tragic. Let me be perfectly clear, we will not tolerate any type of violence this weekend,” said Brown, a Democrat. “Left, right or center, violence is never a path towards meaningful change.”
In 2019, Fred Perry made the decision to stop selling its Black/Yellow/Yellow twin tipped shirt in the US and Canada “until we’re satisfied that its association with the Proud Boys” has ended.
“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 has previously said.