Proud Boys Member Explains Freedom of Speech 'In Most Ironic Way Possible'

A video showing a member of the Proud Boys and apparent vaccine skeptic explaining the concept of free speech has been hailed as the "definition of irony" on social media.

Freedom of speech is essentially defined as the power to express an opinion without censorship, restraint or legal penalty, and represents the bedrock of the American Constitution.

However, as the video shared to TikTok and YouTube by comedian Walter Masterson indicates, for some freedom of speech only applies when they are speaking.

In the clip, titled "Anti-Vaxxer Explains Freedom of Speech in Most Ironic Way Possible," Masterson can be seen interviewing a man wearing a t-shirt promoting Clay Clark's ReAwaken America Tour.

The tour, fronted by Clark, who is a noted conservative podcaster, also includes several high profile supporters of former President Donald Trump, including Roger Stone and General Michael Flynn.

Several vaccine skeptics have also spoken as part of the tour.

In the video, the man begins to explain to the camera that "here in America we have a principle called freedom of speech. Freedom of speech means that everybody gets to..."

At this point, however, he is interrupted by Masterson, who states: "Freedom of speech means the government does get involved..."

Before Masterson can finish his point though, the man interrupts him by aggressively telling him: "shut your f***ing mouth, because I'm not asking you what freedom of speech is, okay?"

The clip then cuts to a close up on Masterson, turning to the camera while Alanis Morrisette's signature hit "Ironic" plays in the background.

The inference was evidently, and not lost on those watching along on social media.

On TikTok, where the video has racked up over 200,000 views, Diane Bannan said: "This clip should be in dictionaries as the definition of irony," with JohnMac02 also noting the "bitter irony" of the man's response.

Alexislagos24 branded it: "Irony in purest form" while Sheena Ashby thought it was a "shame" that "the ones who scream loudest about freedom of speech never understand or know what it truly means."

On YouTube, Andy Ferber said the man was basically saying that "freedom of speech means that HE is free to speak and you are free to agree with him," with John M declaring that "irony is dead" after watching the clip.

Speaking to Newsweek, Masterson said he filmed the exchange at the New York City World Wide Rally for Freedom Anti-Mandate Protest in Union Square, Manhattan on Saturday, March 19.

"I went there to satirize them because I found it hilarious that they're protesting the mandates that are currently being lifted," Masterson explained over email. "I attend these rallies to non-violently satirize these people. These people are out here exercising their 1st Amendment rights, and so am I."

According to Masterson, the man he was speaking to in the video is Randy Ireland, an active member of the far right group The Proud Boys, who had previously spoken out against the treatment of those arrested following last year's January 6 attack on the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.

Masterson told Newsweek Ireland is also a member of Citizens Against Political Prosecution (CAPP), an organization calling on those January 6 protesters who were arrested and charged to be freed as political prisoners.

"People criticized me for 'interrupting' him," Masterson said. "As if nobody ever interjects in a normal debate or spirited discussion."

"I am not a journalist and I come to these rallies to make comedy," he added. "The comedy of the video is the guy trying to make a point that the First Amendment means everyone gets a chance to speak. Then disproving his own point by aggressively screaming at me after I corrected him."

Masterson said he spoke with Ireland for a further 20 minutes and is planning on posting a video chronicling their discussion to his YouTube channel.

The comedian went on to take aim at the GQP—a term coined to describe the perceived political intersection between certain members of the Republican Party as well as the QAnon conspiracy theorists and COVID-19 vaccine skeptics.

"The GQP has no interest in free speech. They want their speech, that's it," he said. "The GQP swears they are being silenced while at the same time banning black history in schools, and the many types of 'Don't Say Gay' bills currently popping up in each state. Let's not forget about their relentless attack on a woman's right to choose."

He acknowledged that while debate in politics was "important" he felt that it was challenging in the current climate as the "GQP" is "living in a state of unreality."

"It's difficult to talk about important issues when the other side thinks the election was stolen, vaccines are a worldwide conspiracy, anti-racism is racism, anti-fascism is fascism, and the Nazis were all Socialists," he said.

Having traveled across the entire country and spoke to many thousands of Americans, Masterson also expressed alarm at the "amount of disinformation being spread" across the U.S., with "zero pushback" from the Democratic National Committee.

"A lot of liberals think everything just magically went away after we elected President Joe Biden," he warned. "The mid-terms are going to be a disaster if people don't wake up."

Randy Ireland and Walter Masterson.
Proud Boys member Randy Ireland being interviewed by comedian Walter Masterson about the concept of free speech, and Ireland's response went viral on TikTok Walter Masterson/YouTube