Rachel Maddow Says Proud Boys, Oath Keepers Names 'Sound Really Gay'

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow poked fun at right-wing extremist groups the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers and commented she believed both "sound really gay."

The Rachel Maddow Show made the teasing remark in response to fellow MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell's comments about semantic infiltration, an academic term by which a person's argument is undermined by unknowingly adopting terms an adversary uses.

During the discussion on Tuesday, O'Donnell mentioned the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers as examples of semantic infiltration and debated using other terms to refer to them.

But Maddow offered another opinion on how the names could be viewed and said their names sounded as if they were rooted in 90s affinity groups.

Maddow, who is the first openly lesbian prime time news host, said: "I will say that with both of those groups, particularly the Proud Boys but also a little bit with the Oath Keepers, I always have found them to be inadvertently funny, those names, not only because they defy reality as you're describing them, but because they both sound really gay.

"They both seem like they are referring to gay stuff, whether it is the Proud Boys in terms of gay pride, or the Oath Keepers thing if you've read a lot around the politics around gay marriage and about being able to say your I dos with your beloved.

"Both of those things, they have such a poorly-derived sense of camp and understanding about American subcultural text.

"And so, I've always felt like they're kind of playing themselves, but I am probably in the minority on that."

O'Donnell then chipped in: "I just want different titles for them."

Both the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers are right-wing pro-Donald Trump extremist groups, which largely operate inside the U.S.

The Anti-Defamation League described the Oath Keepers as a "large and loosely-organized anti-government extremist group."

Founded in 2016, the Proud Boys have become known for exposing openly-misogynistic rhetoric.

In February, the Canadian government designated the group as a terrorist entity over the alleged role of its members in the January 6 riot at the Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio is serving a five-month sentence for stealing and burning a banner in support of Black Lives Matter from a church in the city following the 2020 Presidential Election.

While the group is most active in the U.S. Proud Boys chapters exist in Europe, Australia, Japan and the Philippines.

Rachel Maddow and Enrique Tarrio
Rachel Maddow poked fun at the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers' names. Maddow (left) and Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio (right). Getty