GOP club president to sue state senator, pundits for calling him a ‘Proud Boy’
New York Post
He’s proud not to be a Proud Boy.
Ian Walsh Reilly, president of the esteemed Metropolitan Republican Club who once invited the founder of the controversial Proud Boys to speak, claims he’s been slandered by a politician and pundits as a member of the far-right group.
Reilly has filed court papers indicating he plans to sue more than half a dozen people and groups, including state Sen. Andrew Gounardes, Radio Free Bay Ridge and a progressive organization called Fight Back Bay Ridge, for “falsely accusing him of being a member of the Proud Boys.”
Reilly, a former staffer of state Sen. Marty Golden, seeks $5.5 million in damages.
Violence erupted after Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes’ October 2018 speech at the Metropolitan club’s Upper East Side headquarters, where some Proud Boys clashed with Antifa protesters in the surrounding streets.
A total of 10 Proud Boys were later charged in connection with the incident.
“He invited them but he’s definitely not a member,” Reilly’s lawyer, Dennis Houdek, told The Post. “It’s all a free speech issue. Everybody has a right to invite somebody. That does not necessarily mean they endorse them. There’s no way in the world he was ever a member of the Proud Boys.”
The lawyer provided copies of a fundraising email Gounardes (D-Brooklyn) issued last year as he sought election to Golden’s Senate seat that proclaimed Golden had a member of the “white nationalist group Proud Boys on his payroll.”
Houdek also shared copies of tweets from the other defendants naming Reilly as a “Nazi sympathizer” and white supremacist.
Reilly’s defamation lawsuit is “frivolous,” Gounardes said in a statement, noting Reilly “gave hate and white supremacy a platform when he invited the Proud Boys to speak at a prominent Republican Club.”
Radio Free Bay Ridge said it wasn’t aware of the court filing. Blogger Mallory McMahan, of Fight Back Bay Ridge, called the attempt to sue her and others “asinine” and a “publicity stunt.”
“He’s the one who choose to associate with that group,” she said.