U.K. apparel brand Fred Perry wants to make it clear it is in no way associated with U.S.-based hate group the Proud Boys.
In a statement published on its website on last week, Fred Perry explained that it pulled sales of its Black/Yellow/Yellow twin tipped shirt—which over time has become the unofficial Proud Boys uniform—and is currently seeking legal action for unlawful use of the brand.
Fred Perry pulled sales of the shirt in North America in September last year and noted it will not resume sales until it feels the association no longer exists. In the statement, Fred Perry said that the brand, along with the Laurel Wreath logo prominently featured on the shirt, represents diversity and inclusion—and stands strongly against the Proud Boys’ appropriation of it.
“Despite its lineage, we have seen that the Black/Yellow/Yellow twin tipped shirt is taking on a new and very different meaning in North America as a result of its association with the Proud Boys,” Fred Perry said. “That association is something we must do our best to end.”
It went on to reference a quote from company chairman John Flynn in 2017, who explained that Fred Perry was founded by “the son of a working class socialist” who shattered class barriers by becoming a world tennis champion at a time when the sport was reserved for the elite and who “started a business with a Jewish businessman from Eastern Europe.”
The Proud Boys was founded in 2016 on the basis of “anti-political correctness” and “anti-white guilt,” and was deemed a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The group was highlighted in Tuesday’s U.S. presidential debate, when President Trump told members to “stand back and stand by,” eliciting strong backlash for what many considered insufficient condemnation of a hate group. The group responded Tuesday night by adding Trump’s ominous phrase to its logo.