Guest post by Robert Vincent Piccirillo
I was there. I saw it unfold with my own eyes. And I’m here to tell you as a legitimate Gonzo reporter who had been covering the Proud Boys for many years — these are good guys who do not deserve to be rotting in jail right now. They are political prisoners and they need to be released immediately like Jacob Chansley.
My “real” name is Robert Vincent Piccirillo, but there are a slew of people who still know me by the nom de plum, Bobby Pickles. I no longer go by that name. I killed that alter-ego at the end of November 2021.
I also killed any affiliation I had with the Proud Boys, a group of which I had been a part for exactly four years to the day. To be honest, elements of my nickname had been stolen by Jim Carrey and repurposed for his character’s name in a Showtime sitcom a couple of years prior.
So, the name had already taken a hit. But it was my media appearances as an unofficial spokesman for the club that destroyed my pen name entirely.
After J6, Yours Truly jumped ranks and chased the clout like a fiend for fame. I must admit, media attention had gotten to my head. Interesting enough because I’ve always had one foot in the media tent and one foot in the trenches. I’m a Gonzo journalist. But not in the way Tim Pool uses the term. I am an actual Gonzo writer. I even have Hunter S. Thompson tattooed on my back.
I regretted not joining a fraternity at the University of Florida, where I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English. After working as a field reporter at my local community radio station, I became an early adopter of podcasting in 2013. My show was even featured on the TLC reality show, “America’s Worst Tattoos.”
I moved to New York City where I was basically a bleeding-heart liberal, armed with my liberal arts degree and a bunch of gumption. I even voted for Obama twice — how’s that for a “ProudBoy?” I was a liberal arts degree holding Obama supporter with a New York City sex ed school teacher as a girlfriend. You could not be more lefty than me. What’s that one adage falsely attributed to Winston Churchill? Something like, “If you’re not a liberal when you’re 25, you have no heart. If you’re not a conservative by the time you’re 35, you have no brain.” Anywho, my show, Bobby Pickles’ Podcast, had gone through a couple of different format changes throughout the years — first street interviews at various locations throughout New York City, then to covering Punk Rock for a punk news website called DyingScene.com, and finally, another shift into the world of politics beginning in 2016 when I interviewed Gavin McInnes on the eve of Trump’s first election. Gavin was the one who told me about the Proud Boys in the first place.
I had no idea that there was even a group by that name until I was personally informed by its Founder.
That was not the first time I had interviewed Gavin. I had interviewed him about a year before. That was also not the last time I would interview Gavin, the third time being from the cozy comfort of his very own home in Westchester County, NY. It was after that second podcast interview with the trifecta cultural influencer who had invented hipsterdom, Vice News, and the ProudBoys, that I began becoming interested in the organization from an anthropological perspective. So, I joined their Facebook group, entitled “The Thunderdome.”
After roughly a year of digital interactions, I joined the club officially, and at the first meetup, I met Enrique Tarrio. Tarrio, or “Henry,” which is his actual legal name, was already a rising star in the organization. Something about him stood out — this Cuban American, born in Miami, with a charming personality — the perfect demeanor to lead either a cult or cultural revolution, you take your pick. The point is Enrique had charisma. And he wanted to be somebody. A “lone wolf,” by his own admission, Enrique had been recruited by this guy Alex who was the founder and current President of our local South Florida ProudBoys Chapter, which encompassed West Palm, Ft. Lauderdale, and Miami, respectively.
It was not long, however, before Enrique was voted in as our chapter President and Alex took the VP position. There’s a pretty gangster Miami New Times’ cover photo featuring the two, Alex puffing a Cuban stogie and Enrique with his grill in his mouth. When Gavin McInnes Forest Gumped the ProudBoys by not wanting to lead the running anymore after a violent incident between ProudBoys and ANTIFA in NYC, 2019, Enrique Tarrio was voted in as the group’s International Chairman — and I was right there by his side to witness his rise to fame and infamy from an inside baseball vantage point. From there, I was like the Proud Boys own personal media guy.
I shot interviews with people on both sides of many events, from Trump Rallies to the ProudBoy rallies in Portland, Vegas, Washington D.C., New York City. I began creating content and podcasts featuring various members of the ProudBoys organization, showing their human side, their real side: just a bunch of misguided middle-aged fellas, family men, tradesmen, leaning right politically with an affinity for President Donald Trump, adopting his okay hand sign gesture that he seemed to do constantly like a nervous tick throughout speeches.
They, of course, demonized this hand gesture in the media, labeling it a sign of white supremacy when it was really only a means of showing solidarity between supporters of the POTUS. I always maintained a level of independent thought and an air of consciousness within the group — always studying the group’s behavior from inside because as a journalist, I’ve always been interested in the human animal, especially when they form organized associations. But that didn’t stop me from officially joining or becoming the first ProudBoy in Palm Beach, or the club’s local chapter President when our South Florida conglomerate severed into three pieces. I owned and operated a custom screen printing and embroidery company and began manufacturing all the shirts and caps for the club.
My affiliation with the ProudBoys led me to meet other movers and shakers within the Neo-Conservative space — people like Roger Stone and Laura Loomer. My company even designed and printed the infamous “Roger Stone Did Nothing Wrong!” shirt that the political huckster was arrested in by the FBI at his Ft. Lauderdale mansion. Suffice it to say, I befriended, associated with, studied, wrote about, interviewed, made content about, and generally got to know Enrique Tarrio very well. We became genuine friends and built for each other a mutual respect. Enrique trusted me to follow around the group and record them in action — creating our own in-house content, leading to thousands of podcast views on Facebook.
My video of the Proud Boys Invading the Orlando Women’s March in 2019 received 100,000 views on YouTube. Vice used elements of my videos in several of their documentaries on the Proud Boys. However, in July 2019 I was systematically canceled, along with Stone and Loomer, on all social media. Banned from Facebook, PayPal, my company’s website host, Instagram, Twitter, and even Rumble, which claims to be a protector of “Free Speech.” But up until the banning of Nick Fuentes’ Hitler Youth Rally Speech last month, I, to my knowledge, had been the only content creator canceled on said platform. I was also present in Washington D.C. on January 6th, 2021. I interviewed Joseph Biggs at the base of the Washington Monument before the Proud Boys’ impromptu march towards the Capitol, the transcript of which is below, along with a link to the video.
In the video Biggs confirms that there was no plan to riot at the Capitol building or overthrow the government via insurrection. I tried desperately to get my video to be used as evidence in the trial of the Proud Boys. But I honestly believe their own representatives were either not trying, were undercover throwing the trial in a Pete Rose scenario, or they were completely incompetent, or bigger clout chasers than me (Norm Pattis), or a raging drunken lunatic (Dan Hull). I went to D.C. to serve as a witness for their defense, but the night before my scheduled appearance on the bench, Attorney Nick Smith pulled me as a witness — yielding my video evidence “unusable…” even in a re-trial. This is why I have decided to write this little memoir for the Gateway Pundit.
Nobody is sticking up for the Proud Boys. And there’s no more content available depicting the Proud Boys as good. Channels and content like mine have been scrubbed from the internet. No alternative narratives are allowed to be offered. The truth is, what happened on that dreadful winter day in our nation’s capital was spontaneous. It was not a peaceful protest. But it was not a planned, organized insurrection, either. What happened was that people who were largely critical of the George Floyd riots and those caught up in the mob mentality, ironically those same people were caught up in the wave of mob mentality as well. This is something I find to be poetic. It was a humbling lesson for the right. But those ProudBoys convicted of insurrection and sitting, awaiting their rumored three-decade sentences, are simply pawns, patsies in the government’s game of criminalizing protesters. Those boys didn’t plan to overthrow anything. Proud Boys have trouble organizing a herd of cats. They’re just beer-drinking, America-loving frat bros who are too old to even be in a frat. And Enrique Tarrio wasn’t even in town that day, and he’s looking at the longest
The narrative of the Proud Boys planning to overthrow the government is one of the most poorly conceived works of fiction I have ever seen. It’s like a terrible Hollywood script written by a hack utilizing ChatGPT. It’s pure Fugazi fiction. I was there. I saw it unfold with my own eyes. And I’m here to tell you as a legitimate Gonzo reporter who has been covering the Proud Boys for many years — these are good guys who do not deserve to be rotting in jail right now. They are political prisoners and they need to be released immediately like Jacob Chansley.
I have nothing to gain by reporting this. Look at Julian Assange, currently being extradited to the U.S. where he is facing a similar prison sentence as these ProudBoys for being a truth-telling reporter.
These last few years, I’ve been staying away from politics, concentrating on business, residing in a smaller town, and attending Catholic Mass every day. I lost three generations of my family members due to the hospital protocols during the Covid pandemic. The losses turned me to God and my podcast went through yet another format change with topics revolving around the Man Upstairs, I left the ProudBoys organization officially, and traded in my membership card for that of the Knights of Columbus — which, incidentally, is the group Gavin McInness modeled his ProudBoys after. Just like Jim Carrey, Gavin subscribes to a similar philosophy — “good artists copy, great artists steal.” The reverse engineering of Gavin’s creativity really isn’t that creative, from the similar colors, phrases, and levels (degrees).
I’ve also been accepted into my local diocese diaconate program and will eventually become a deacon in the Catholic Church, “a man of the cloth,” which is what Enrique Tarrio referred to me as, during a phone call I received from him via the DC Gulag — from ProudBoy to AlterMan, baby! And I’m right where I need to be — in the midst of people the government has labeled “extremists.” I’m sure you’ve all heard about the FBI infiltrating the Richmond Catholic Diocese via their local field office? I’m doing what I always do — studying a group from the inside out and finding out how human beings tick, Gonzo style.
(Transcript of interview with ProudBoy Joe Biggs on the morning of J6. No mention of a plan to storm the Capitol. Biggs was on trial for seditious conspiracy. How is this video not being used as evidence in his trial?)
Pickles: “I’m here with Joe Biggs at the base of the Washington Monument. Yo Biggs, please give me update on #1 Enrique and #2 your Airbnb?”
Biggs: “Enrique has been ordered to stay out of D.C. until his court hearing. And that’s in six months and will be going on for a while so he will have to lay low. And this morning I woke up to find out we’ve been kicked out of our Airbnb. I guess that’s what happens when I put my name on the Airbnb instead of someone else’s but hey I never claimed to be perfect so my bad for being a fucking retard there. But now we are all standing out in front of the Washington Monument and we are going to get everyone together and kinda you know cruise around and see what’s going on and get a good feel for the day, find out about what events are going on tonight when the sun is going down because we know that is when ANTIFA likes to go out and start fucking attacking people as they leave, as we saw last night in some areas, so we want to go ahead and do as much risk mitigation as we can, find the areas where we need to get located at, and try to protect some of these people.”
Pickles: “Do you think people will be out tonight?”
Biggs: “Of Course. No one flew out here to give up and walk home. People came out to do
Pickles: “It depends on what happens today, right?”
Biggs: “If it gets contested, people will be in the streets, if it doesn’t, people are going to be
in the streets, regardless, TONIGHT is going to be a shit-show to remember for ages.”
Pickles: “Hell yeah.”
Biggs: “And we are here to fucking be right in the middle of it, like a dick in a wet pussy, all
up in it.”
(Transcript of interview with ProudBoy Joe Biggs on morning of J6. No mention of a plan to storm the Capitol. Biggs is on trial for seditious conspiracy. How is this video not being used as evidence in his trial?) 1/8 pic.twitter.com/Fa1Jm7uCFd
— Robert Vincent Piccirillo (@RVPiccirillo) March 22, 2023