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Ex-Misfits Singer Michale Graves Bemoans Cancel Culture: “If Anybody Gets a Little Bit Rattled by Something, We Have To Make It Disappear”

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Former Misfits singer Michale Graves is pissed about so-called “cancel culture,” which he believes unfairly attacks the innocent and gives them “no recourse” for fighting back.

The 46-year-old card-carrying member of the Proud Boys currently hosts Radio Deadly with Michale Graves on Censored.tv, a site for right wing pundits who have been banned from major social media and online video platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Other personalities on the site include Gavin McInnes, co-founder of both Vice and the Proud Boys, and Milo Yiannopolous, of Breitbart and Info Wars disesteem (y’know, the winner who said “We get hung up on this child abuse stuff” while endorsing the merits of 13-year-old boys having sex with adult men). Recent video reports on the front page of Censored.tv have included such hard-hitting, too-honest-for-the-liberal-mainstream-media stories as WHAT SYSTEMIC RACISM?, Quantum Qabbalah (“Why are experts and scientists so keen on killing us all – sorry, performing ‘population control’? Their occult connections explain a lot.”), Taking on gun-phobes, fatty boom-booms and gunts, and, most courageously of all, BIG FUCKING TITS!.

Given his political leanings, Graves unsurprisingly agrees with the recent assertion by his Misfits predecessor, Glenn Danzig, that “wokeness” would prevent the punk rock movement from ever happening today.

“I think one of the things that is being lost in what he said was that obviously you can write lyrics like [vintage punk lyrics] today and get away with it,” Graves tells MetalSucks. “But the challenging lyrics, the way that kids looked, their ideas back then, that was allowed to blossom into what was then called punk… I think he was more saying that in today’s climate, where people get so offended by everything, and then, by virtue of that, erase it and say ‘We can’t have that’ and make it go away… punk would not blossom today, it would be stifled.”

Thing is, to date, the “woke mob” hasn’t actually stifled much of anything, proving to be fairly ineffective in terms of ruining careers. Sure, the Ted Nugents of the world love to claim that they’re being censored… but they do it during Facebook Live sessions watched by thousands of people, which makes their argument seem more than a little disingenuous. Pressed to think of an example of an innocent musician whose career was “cancelled,” we come up short.

When MetalSucks posits this argument and asks for an example of a punk, hardcore, or metal musician who has been negatively and unfairly affected by cancel culture, Graves answers unhesitatingly: “Me.”

“There are a lot of places in America that won’t let me play,” Graves claims. “[There are] record companies that won’t talk to me, people that have to avoid me because of the backlash that they would receive for working with me.”

Graves also alleges that he’s been banned from many of the aforementioned outlets, like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube (he is currently still on Instagram, where he has 3,000+ followers), for misguided political reasons. “People took offense to me posting a picture of me doing an okay sign, [which] according to some people is some sort of covert white supremacist signal.”

Representatives for Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube did not respond to MetalSucks‘ requests for clarification as to why Graves was banned. But the Anti-Defamation League confirms that the “okay” hand signal can be one of hate groups, with the extended fingers forming a W and the rounded digits forming a P — but also warns that “particular caution must be used when evaluating this symbol” and “in most contexts [it] is entirely innocuous and harmless.” And although confusion regarding the hand sign’s meaning has led to false accusations in the past (most recently with Jeopardy! contestant Kelly Donohue), Graves fails to mention that his photo included the caption “I AM A PROUD WESTERN CHAUVINIST AND I REFUSE TO APOLOGIZE FOR BUILDING THE MODERN WORLD” — a common Proud Boys refrain which certainly implies perceived racial and gender dominance.

Ex-Misfits Singer Michale Graves Bemoans Cancel Culture: “If Anybody Gets a Little Bit Rattled by Something, We Have To Make It Disappear”

Regardless, the vocalist vehemently denies any bigotry on his part. “I’m not a hateful person, I don’t surround myself with hateful people. If I was in a group or on a team or working for a business… in any facet of my life… and there was even a hint of some sort of racism or hate for somebody because of the way that they look, the color of their skin, or the life they choose to live, regardless of the consequences, I would leave. And I would be very, very vocal about calling it out. If you’re on the left, if you’re on the right, if you’re a Proud Boy, if you’re just a regular person, if that’s in your heart , where you’re judging people by the way that they live, who they love, who they don’t love, the color of their skin… it’s wrong.” He repeats for emphasis: “It’s WRONG.”

He claims that being banned from the most popular social media outlets has severly hurt his ability to self-promote. “Whether you agree with me or not, I worked really, really hard to have over a quarter-of-a-million followers across those sites,” Graves says. “That’s what helped me when I would go out on the road or sell merchandise or distribute music. And to take that away with no recourse, and to see people celebrate that and say ‘Yeah, we need more of that,’ I believe is a dangerous path.”

It’s the “no recourse” bit that Graves clearly finds unsettling — his sense that the far-left is holding a kangaroo court.

Still, it’s not difficult to understand why someone would assume Graves is a racist. There’s the above photo, as well as one in which Graves proudly poses with InfoWars’ Alex Jones; his open support of Donald Trump; unconfirmed-but-not-far-fetched reports that Graves was vocally against the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests; and his affiliation with the Proud Boys, who have been labeled a white nationalist hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. And wouldn’t membership in such a group alone qualify Graves for “cancellation”?

Graves says it wouldn’t — because he takes issue with the classification of the Proud Boys as a hate group in the first place. “Really it’s just a bunch of guys getting together and drinking beer and having a good time,” he tells us when we ask him to describe the group as though we’ve never heard of it before. “It eventually blossomed into a much more aggressive form of supporting the First Amendment. And as well Proud Boys were the group of people that had to and were providing security for conservative right wing speakers, whether it was Milo Yiannopoulos or [‘gun rights activist’] Kaitlin Bennett, who needed security to go and simply speak or perform.” A Berkley protest against Yiannopoulos turned into a riot, resulting in $100,000 in damages and the cancellation of Yiannopoulos’ speaking engagement; Bennett is said to have been run off the campus of Ohio University by protesting students, who she later called “terrorists.” While neither example is a violation of the First Amendment, which only protects citizens against governmental punishment for speaking dissenting opinions freely, still, Graves’ point — that protests against these conservatives were less-than-peaceful — is inarguable.

More arguable, however, is Graves’ version of events surrounding his reasons for joining the Proud Boys. Unbelievable though it may sound, he says he became involved with the group when they bravely defended… baked goods.

“There was a bakery in Albany that was owned by a really nice family,” Graves recounts. “And BLM and antifa-type individuals saw on this bakery’s website that they had created a MAGA hat cake. And there was a large group of BLM and antifa activists who threatened to break the windows and burn the place down.” The Proud Boys, he says, “showed up to protect the people and protect the bakery.”

The bakery in question, Coccadotts, was, indeed, the scene of a large confrontation between BLM protestors and the Proud Boys last summer. In contrast to Graves’ own characterization, however, Albany Proper describes the BLM protestors as “peaceful” and says they were, in fact, responding to reports that Coccadotts was affiliated with the Proud Boys. They also say that the whole thing about the MAGA cake is a misconception:

“After word spread on Facebook of their planned [Black Lives Matter] demonstration, Liberty Bell Alliance, the group behind the recent ‘Rally for Blue‘ event in Albany, called for their supporters to travel to the shop to counter-protest.

“Many of them, plus the Times Union and Spectrum News, remain under the impression that the Black Lives Matter protesters had gathered in response to the cupcake shop promoting a cake they made in the form of a ‘Make America Great Again’ hat. [Organizer Lukee] Forbes and others made it clear that it was only the cake that made them aware of the other instances of discrimination they say the two businesses are affiliated with. They were there to speak out about those issues, and made no mention of the cake.”

In fact, the Proud Boys have long been accused of violence. In 2018, after McInnes spoke at a GOP club in Manhattan, a fight erupted outside; 9 of the 12 people police subsequently sought for questioning were reportedly “associated with the Proud Boys,” and two of those Proud Boys were eventually convicted of attempted gang assault, attempted assault, and riot, with each sentenced to four years in prison and five years post-release supervision. Just an hour before the United States Capitol riot on January 6, Proud Boys members aiming to “stop the steal” were involved in a physical altercation outside the New York State Capitol, in Albany, leading to one person being stabbed. In the past two months, both the The New York Times and NPR have run extensive exposés detailing the group’s deep history of purportedly using and threatening physical assault as a political tool.

Unsurprisingly, Graves refutes reports that the Proud Boys are violent. He says it’s the liberals who threaten physical harm to get what they want.

“I had a show in Rhode Island booked,” Graves tells us. “The venues owners are good people, they had no problems with me personally in a business sense. They announced the show, and they were inundated with phone calls and messages on their social sites that people were going to show up and do damage to the property. There was actually an individual who was saying he was going to raise money to pay for the lawyer fees of anybody that did any sort of harm to me. And because of that, [the venue] cancelled the show. And this has happened more than once.”

Although MetalSucks was unable to verify Graves’ claims about the cancellation in Rhode Island, antifa have certainly used violence to shut down shows by artists they don’t like in the past.

Additionally, Graves’ political views did lead to his very public expulsion from the 2018 Up + Downtown Music Festival in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. At the time, Brent Oliver, the festival’s artistic director, told the CBC that Graves was kicked off the bill for sharing social media posts that were “against immigration, against feminism, against mental health treatments”:

“We found some posts that were antithetical to the safer spaces policy and our policies for inclusion for the festival. We made a decision as a board of nine of us to cancel his performance.” 

He continued:

“There was a number of things supporting Infowars, Alex Jones, Breitbart. How white people are being discriminated against. There’s just a lot of political and personal views on his social media that do not align with the festival.”

Again, it’s worth noting that this is not a violation of the First Amendment, and wouldn’t have been even if it had occurred in the United States. Whether or not it’s “fair” or “just” is an entire debate that two guys with diametrically-opposed political views aren’t gonna solve during a phone interview.

So before the call ends, we turn the topic back to violence and ask Graves how he’d feel about legitimate protests at his show that didn’t threaten his safety and the safety of the venue.

“I would encourage that,” Graves says, sounding earnestly enthusiastic about the idea. “If there was a group of people that for whatever reason hated me, and they showed up with their signs and it was all [peaceful], I would make sure that they were taken care of and given a spot to do it.”

Is Graves being truthful? For better or worse, he doesn’t currently have any shows scheduled which would allow naysayers to put his claim to the test. But the assertion speaks to his overarching argument — that “the nail that sticks out gets hammered down,” as the saying goes: “Any sort of challenging or dissenting opinion, pretty much in any way, shape, or form… if anybody gets a little bit rattled by something, we have to make it disappear.”

Graves is being dramatic, using the same alarmist language much of the right now uses to attack the left: this month alone, he’ll be featured both here on MetalSucks and on the popular far-right website Breitbart, and MetalSucks covers Danzig with such frequency that he has his own posting category — so they’ve hardly “disappeared.” That’s NOT to say you should perpetrate violence. Remember: sunlight is the best disinfectant.

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