An Arizona woman charged in the January 6 onslaught of the US Capitol bragged in a Snapchat video that she was recently recruited by a Kansas City chapter of the Proud Boys, a neofascist organization that describes itself as “Western chauvinists” and has long forbidden female members.
Felicia Konold’s claim that the chapter recruited her and she was “with them now,” even though she’s not from the Kansas City area, has intrigued experts who study extremist right-wing movements.
“It is ironic that such a deeply misogynistic organization has attracted someone who is a woman to join their organization,” says Eric Ward, a senior fellow with the Southern Poverty Law Center. “It tells us there is dissension in the ranks of Proud Boys right now.”
Details of the video surfaced last week in a probable cause affidavit against Konold, 26, of Tucson, who is charged with conspiracy, civil disorder and other federal charges stemming from the melee.
Konold sounded almost euphoric in the Snapchat video she posted after the Capitol attack, saying she never could have imagined having such an influence on the events that unfolded that day. She laughingly references “all my boys, behind me, holding me up in the air, pushing back. We (expletive) did it!”
In order to seemingly prove her point that she had just been “recruited into an (expletive) chapter from Kansas City,” she displayed on the video a two-sided “challenge coin” that appears to have markings that designate it as belonging to the Kansas City Proud Boys.
The challenge coin denotes membership, something that seems to go against the rhetoric about women from the organization’s national leadership, Ward says.
“The fact she has that coin, the challenge coin, tells me there is something happening around gender in the Proud Boys — and it is something worth paying attention to,” says Ward, who is also the executive director of the Western States Center, a civil rights advocacy group that works to advance gender equity.