The Australian government denied Proud Boys founder and Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes’ request for a visa application because he failed the country’s “character test,” the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported Friday.
The former Proud Boys ringleader was planning on traveling across Australia for his “The Deplorables” speaking tour with far-right British activist Tommy Robinson.
According to the ABC, those opposed to Mr. McInnes asked Australia’s Home Affairs Department to block his application because of the extremist view he’s embraced. More than 80,000 people signed on to a petition requesting the government to block Mr. McInnes’ ability to come to the country.
The department notified Mr. McInnes that it was likely to deny his request, but he missed Friday’s deadline to appeal the decision.
“To have allowed him to come still I think would have made it seem as if the Government had given tacit approval at the very least to these calls for violence against people you don’t agree with as a legitimate form of free speech,” Nyadol Nyuon, the lawyer who started the petition, told The ABC.
“I’m happy that women, non-whites, certain members of the LGBTI communities don’t have to live in an atmosphere of fear after these individuals are allowed to come in, or from the fear of what that might suggest to them,” she continued.
The FBI considers the Proud Boys, an international group, to be an extremist group with ties to white nationalism, a label Mr. McInnes has repeatedly denied. Though, he took steps to distance himself from the group in November.
“I am officially disassociating myself from the Proud Boys, in all capacities, forever,” he said in a video.
• Andrew Blake contributed to this report.
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