How White Boy Summer Turned Into A Transnational Hate Campaign

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UPDATE: On July 3, Chet Hanks posted that “White Boy Summer” was never intended for hateful actions. But the fact remains that it has been co-opted by far-right extremists to promote hate and bigotry. Despite his now declared original intent to celebrate “fly white boys who love beautiful queens of every race,” the slogan has been transformed into a rallying cry for white supremacist groups who are using it to spread propaganda, recruit members, and incite violence against marginalized communities. This underscores the profound social responsibility that public figures bear in their words and actions. The Global Project Against Hate and Extremism emphasizes the need for those with powerful platforms to remain vigilant against irresponsible statements that can be used for tools of hate and division.

A slogan from a Hollywood star’s son, with a supposedly benign beginning, has escalated into a powerful global call-to-action for far-right recruitment, protest, and violence.

Over the past couple months, white supremacists and neo-Nazis have been calling for the destruction of Pride flags, killing “n*****s and communists,” and the creation of “more militia[s]” all under one slogan: “White Boy Summer.” Several extremist groups including the Proud Boys, White Lives Matter, the Identitarian movement in Europe, and neo-Nazi Active Clubs are all using “White Boy Summer” to spread propaganda, recruit new members, and facilitate targeted hate campaigns including acts of vandalism and hate incidents.

The phrase “White Boy Summer” (“WBS”) was coined in early 2021 by actor Chet Hanks, son of Tom Hanks, in a song presumably meant to capitalize on the similarly-named trends “hot girl summer” and “Christian girl autumn.” Hanks attempted to clarify that his target audience was not “Trump, NASCAR-type white” people, and that White Boy Summer cannot include anything related to “ill will or prejudice towards anybody from a different background, race, [or] walk of life than you.” However, the merchandise sold on Hanks’ website was criticized for employing a Gothic-style font common to white supremacists, with eerie similarities to the Fraktur fonts infamously used on the cover of Hitler’s Mein Kampf. On May 20, 2024, Chet Hanks announced on his Instagram page that he “consulted with the heavens, felt a westward breeze, and walked outside of a strip club and saw my shadow… there will be a #WBS #IHaveSpoken.” 

This is the story of how an influential person with a large social media audience can inspire a viral and dangerous narrative and motivate white supremacist groups worldwide. 

Chet Hanks announces that there “will be a #WBS” in 2024 (Source: Instagram)

The far right is adept at bringing their hateful ideologies into the mainstream, especially through the use of social media, and the already-viral White Boy Summer has proved to be the perfect segue for them to spread their bigotry to a wider audience. Every year since 2021, posts with “White Boy Summer” or its abbreviation, “WBS,” on Telegram, a platform known for its use by extremist groups, surge during the summer months. Overall popularity of the term by these groups is steadily growing even during the other seasons. Use of the term for propagandizing, organizing events, and recruiting new members has spread transnationally, including in Australia, Austria, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Both “White Boy Summer” and its abbreviation, “WBS,” saw major spikes in use on Telegram during the summer months in 2021, 2022, and 2023. It is currently trending upwards as we head into 2024’s summer months. (June is partial data) (Source: OpenMeasures)

2021: White Boy Summer As An American Phenomenon

In 2021, the slogan was quickly co-opted from Chet Hanks by American extremist groups like the Proud Boys on Telegram. WBS gained further popularity on the fringe during the 2021 trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer convicted for the May 2020 murder of George Floyd, which spurred mass racial justice protests. During Chauvin’s trial in April 2021, domestic and international Proud Boys chapters like the South Texas Proud Boys and Proud Boys Britannia, in a racist attempt to stoke fear if Chauvin was convicted, claimed he’d only be found guilty “to prevent the Great 2021 Chimp-Out just to deny us our White Boy Summer.” The South Texas Proud Boys used White Boy Summer to organize, as they planned to “officially mark the beginning of White Boy Summer” by throwing a party if Chauvin “gets found innocent”

Proud Boys Britannia shares a post by South Texas Proud Boys calling Chauvin’s trial a “mockery of our justice system,” and claiming a guilty verdict would only serve “to prevent the Great 2021 Chimp-Out just to deny us our White Boy Summer.” (Source: Telegram)

Other Proud Boys chapters like the Aloha Proud Boys and New Jersey Proud Boys shared white supremacist propaganda through a YouTube video which had “white boy summer” in its caption. Proud Boys Britannia told their subscribers on Telegram to “keep your eyes” on Proud Boys channels during “White Boy Summer.” However, there were no clear indications at the time that the Proud Boys were seriously planning to organize under the slogan.

White Lives Matter (WLM), in 2021 still a young transnational white supremacist network, having made its first posts on Telegram in April of that year, made a call to its chapters to organize marches on June 5, 2021, attempting to associate WBS with white supremacist activism, saying “We have spoken to the CEO of White Boy Summer and we declare a joint partnership with White Activist Summer. You cannot celebrate anything this summer unless you do pro-White Activism every week.” In the U.S., the post was shared by WLM chapters in Idaho and Alabama. A White Lives Matter protest was held on that day in Texas.

 

The White Lives Matter umbrella Telegram account invokes White Boy Summer to get individual chapters to protest on June 5, 2021. (Source: Telegram)

NSC-131, otherwise known as the Nationalist Social Club, a neo-Nazi group based in Massachusetts, continued the trend of direct action by spraying graffiti with WBS alongside hate symbols like the totenkopf and Swastika.

NSC-131 members perform the Roman salute above graffiti of “WBS,” or “White Boy Summer,” accompanied by swastika and totenkopf symbols. (Source: Telegram)

Extremists’ use of the slogan finally moved closer to the mainstream in July 2021, when it was used by Nick Fuentes, leader of the “Groyper” movement and the America First Political Action Conference (AFPAC), who, despite his white supremacy, once dined with Donald Trump and Kanye West at Mar-a-Lago. Fuentes crashed the Conservative Political Action Coalition (CPAC) in July 2021 with his supporters, while chanting “America First” and “White Boy Summer” before being escorted out by security officials. Fuentes was quick to capitalize on the media attention, releasing White Boy Summer merchandise on his website and playlists on Apple Music and Spotify. In September 2021, Fuentes released a film called “White Boy Summer: Tour Across America” alongside Jaden McNeil, a far-right livestreamer who reportedly attended the January 6 Capitol riots.

Extremists co-opted White Boy Summer through the glorification of violence. One video published in 2021 on Bitchute, a video-hosting platform filled with extremist content and hate speech, featured an interview of a mass shooter, who in 1999 killed a Black man, a Korean graduate student, and wounded nine Orthodox Jews over the course of two days. Following the interview, the video shows a man loading a 12-gauge shotgun before a voice, reportedly belonging to Hanks’, states “It’s about to be a White Boy Summer.” Bitchute later took the video down for containing “incitement to hatred.”

White Boy Summer Spreads To Extremists Transnationally

White Boy Summer wasn’t contained to the U.S. for long. Extremists around the world capitalized on the slogan’s growing popularity to spread propaganda and recruit new members. Many groups didn’t bother to translate “White Boy Summer” into their own respective languages.

White Lives Matter chapters in Canada and the United Kingdom shared a post advertising the aforementioned rally associating WBS with white supremacist activism meant to take place on June 5, 2021. In July, WLM Germany made a post attempting to recruit new members by sharing graffiti saying “WHITE BOY SUMMER,” and captioned “Get involved” alongside contact information for their vetting account on Telegram.

The neo-Nazi political party Die Heimat’s (Homeland) Dortmund chapter first mentioned White Boy Summer in August 2021, while complaining about “corona measures,” “the madness of the globalists,” and “dark-skinned asylum seeker[s],” before saying “we must stand against it and proclaim it, the WHITE BOY SUMMER. Enough is enough, it is time for a change!” The post was accompanied by a short video of a group of masked men holding a banner saying “#Whiteboysummer” and “Dortmund bleibt stabil” (Dortmund remains stable).

A group of masked men hold up a banner reading “#Whiteboysummer” as a means of far-right extremist activism (Source: Telegram)

Throughout Summer 2021, the white nationalist Identitarian movement in Austria and Germany also welcomed White Boy Summer as a means to spread their bigotry. Alexander “Malenki” Kleine, former host of the Identitarian web show Laut Gedacht (Thinking Out Loud), told his subscribers on Telegram to “enjoy White Boy Summer and watch all the old Laut Gedacht episodes.” Aktionsmelder, an Identitarian news aggregator, made a post calling White Boy Summer a “questionable song” which has “become a meme of the patriotic youth.” Sharing a picture of the same “White Boy Summer” graffiti as WLM Germany, declared the beginning of “real White Boy Summer” as a response to supposed “mass immigration, mass stupidity, loss of identity and homeland.” Included in the graffiti, on the left side, is the Identitarian lambda, used by those who are associated with the movement. The post was shared by Malenki, Identitäre Bewegung Deutschland (German Identitarian Movement, IBD), and IB Saarland.

Aktionsmelder shares a post advocating for “White Boy Summer.” The Identitarian lambda (left) is included in the graffiti. (Source: Telegram)

Similarly, Patriotischer Widerstand (Patriotic Resistance) shared an anti-LGBTQ+ video titled “Pride month is cancelled (sic)  – White Boy Summer begins.”

The Identitarians didn’t just use White Boy Summer to propagandize, as Kvlt Games, an independent Identitarian game studio based in Austria, responsible for the bigoted games Heimat Defender (Homeland Defender) and The Great Rebellion (read more about the far right spreading hate in gaming here), held a virtual “game jam,” which are meetups for gaming developers to create games from scratch, from August 6-8, 2021. They called their game jam “Heimat Jam – White Boy Summer Edition!

White Boy Summer Escalates Into Large-Scale Mobilization

Over the course of 2022 and 2023, the trend continued to be popular amongst white supremacists and neo-Nazis, and expanded to encompass the creation of WBS merchandise, large-scale neo-Nazi mobilization, and infusion into the far-right music scene.

In 2022, White Lives Matter used the slogan as a way to recruit new members, with the North and South Carolina chapters each posting messages calling their supporters to “get active” for “White Boy Summer.” WLM Montana did the same, saying that since “White Boy Summer is here,” their followers should “look for a flyer (sic) near you, and if you are interested [in] spreading the word of your people,” to contact them to get vetted.

Active Clubs, a network of white supremacist MMA clubs conceptualized by neo-Nazis Robert Rundo and Denis Kasputin in late 2020, used White Boy Summer to spur their growth. The umbrella account for Active Clubs on Telegram shared multiple posts in May and June 2022, with White Boy Summer artwork, including posters and graffiti. Similarly, individual chapters, such as the Embrace Struggle Active Club, based in Pennsylvania and now part of the WLM movement, also shared photos of White Boy Summer graffiti.

Active Clubs transnationally such as Active Club Dietsland (Active Club Netherlands) and Wolvenrad created propaganda celebrating White Boy Summer. Paramilitary and Active Club-affiliated organization Légió Hungária (Legion of Hungary) created and advertised White Boy Summer merchandise accompanied by the Celtic Cross, a traditional Christian symbol adopted in far-right circles. Légió Hungária used White Boy Summer to fundraise for their hateful activities, as they thanked people who “support[ed] the activities of our Movement by purchasing the WBS t-shirt.”

Légió Hungária shares an image of their White Boy Summer t-shirt, thanking their followers for purchasing it. Translated from Hungarian. (Source: Telegram)

The European Australian Movement (EAM), an Active Club-like group founded by the Australian neo-Nazi Thomas Sewell, made multiple posts over the years celebrating White Boy Summer. One post in 2022 mimicked the Active Club model, calling for their followers to “Tribe and Train,” while another was signed off with “Hail Victory!,” otherwise known as “Sieg Heil,” a salute which Nazis used to honor Hitler.

WBS continued to spread in 2023. Unité Sud Perpignan, based in France, “invite[d] nationalists/identitarians to come and spend a weekend in their company” as part of “White Boy Summer 2023.” 

Heimat Dortmund made multiple recruitment efforts in 2023 using White Boy Summer, including posts calling to “take your city back,” “meet nationalists and network,” and “get in touch with us and become part of the patriotic youth…that is fighting back.” 

New to the scene was the infusion of White Boy Summer into the white power and neo-fascist music scenes. In 2022, Veren Laki (“The Law of Blood”) along with Tulenväki and other neo-Nazi groups, organized the first “White Boy Summer Fest,” which is a Rock Against Communism (RAC) festival, in southern Finland. RAC is a euphemism for this genre, which often features lyrics promoting antisemitism, racism, and National Socialism. They continued to hold these festivals in June 2023, and 2024. Skumshot, a “RAC & Roll” band, also advertised “RAC Summer Vol 2,” a RAC festival taking place in 2023 in Southern Estonia, using the #WhiteBoySummer hashtag. They advertised a song around the same time called “White Boy Summer” on the fringe platform Odysee, since the original video was apparently deleted from YouTube.

A poster from the 2022 “White Boy Summer Fest” held in southern Finland. The Nazi Black Sun symbol, made famous by Heinrich Himmler, is displayed prominently on the poster (Source: Telegram)

Fascist and neo-Nazi electronic music, better known as Fashwave, was used to promote white supremacist and neo-Nazi mobilization. Druids of the Black Sun, an electronic music producer, created a video titled “White Boy Summer 2023” featuring the Patriot Front, Will2Rise, La Cagoule, Active Clubs, Junge Tat, COMITÉ DU 9 MAI, Gym XIV, and Ouest Casual to propagandize their “activism.”

A screengrab from Druids of the Black Sun’s video promoting a series of white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups titled “White Boy Summer” (Source: Telegram)

The Identitarian movement also made music associated with White Boy Summer, such as one “Patriotic German Rap” song of the same name. It was shared on a Telegram channel dedicated to Identitarian rap (the channel was titled “IBDeutschRap”), but has since been taken down by YouTube for violating their hate speech policy. The song was shared by Austrian Martin Sellner, de-facto leader of the Identitarian movement in Europe.

Targeting the LGBTQ+ community as part of White Boy Summer became more commonplace over the course of 2022 and 2023, with a recurring theme being the cancellation of Pride month (usually in June) in favor of White Boy Summer. The White North Crew, based out of Poland, in a post captioned “Angry, Young and White,” “White Boy Summer,” “ Youth Crew Always AntiAntifa” accompanied by knife emojis, shared images of graffiti, and a number of anti-LGBTQ+ propaganda stickers.

2024: White Boy Summer Targets Marginalized Groups

In May 2024, White Boy Summer once again kicked off for white supremacists like the Proud Boys, including widespread targeted campaigns against the LGBTQ+ community and migrants. Though only June, extremists across the world have already begun organizing under the slogan.

In June, White Boy Summer was adopted by far-right institutions. Former President Donald Trump headlined the “People’s Convention” held by Turning Point USA (TPUSA), a far-right organization led by Charlie Kirk, who this year led a campaign against Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Act. During the convention, Trump ally Jack Posobiec and a TPUSA staffer walked out on stage with a “White Boy Summer” flag, and promptly threw out hats bearing the same slogan. Last month, Posobiec posted “God has sent us White Boy Summer to set His people free” on his Telegram channel. Other speakers at the convention included Donald Trump Jr., Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH), Rep. Michael Cloud (R-TX), Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Sen. JD Vance (R-OH), Candace Owens, and Vivek Ramaswamy.

At the “People’s Convention,” hosted by Charlie Kirk’s TPUSA in June, Jack Posobiec and a TPUSA staffer carry a “White Boy Summer” flag out on stage. (Source: Telegram)

The White Lives Matter movement continues to evolve, with their recent creation of the “Get Active” network this May, which appears to be similar to Robert Rundo’s Active Club model. The Embrace Struggle Social Club, formerly known as the Embrace Struggle Active Club and now identifying as part of the WLM network instead of Will2Rise (W2R), a clothing brand associated with the Active Club movement, posted a recruitment message: “Are you in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, or Delaware and looking to get Active? Embrace Struggle was one of the first WLM Active Clubs, we have weekly/monthly meet-ups, hikes, and sparring. Don’t hesitate, your future is at stake. Out of shape? No problem, you need to start somewhere. Just in time for white boy summer!!”

Transnationally, Active Club France created propaganda stickers for their members to print at home and spread around their communities. Included in their message was a call for “less police, more militia!” Other neo-Nazis continued to recruit using White Boy Summer, such as Ultras Not Reds, a European Telegram account, asking for subscriber submissions of white supremacist activism during “WBS adventures” The Finnish Tulenväkii once again organized their White Boy Summer festival, which took place on June 14 and 15 this year.

Active Club France shares stickers for their followers to print and distribute, including one that says “White Boy Summer.” Within the message, they call for “less police, more militia!” Translated from French. (Source: Telegram)

The Identitarian movement has clearly put their stamp on the culture of the far right, including the “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory-inspired idea of “remigration,” the ethnic cleansing of Europe from people who aren’t white. Sellner is a major advocate of this policy, even meeting with high-ranking members of Alternative für Deutschland (Alternative for Germany, AfD) to deliver a lecture on the topic. Remigration once again hit the mainstream in the form of the bastardization of the song “L’amour toujours” by neo-Nazis and white supremacists into “Ausländer Raus!” (“Foreigners Out”), which led to a media firestorm and several instances of the song being banned at events. Several groups and individuals have been associating “Auslander Raus” with White Boy Summer, with some arguing the song should be the “White Boy Summer Anthem 2024.” This sentiment was shared by Mark Collett, Ouest Casual, White Lives Matter, and other Telegram channels such as Memoria Natio, and Pox Populi. Sellner also recently advertised White Boy Summer merchandise on his Telegram channel.

The LGBTQ+ community appears to be targeted more today than in previous years by this propaganda. Some extremists seem to be redefining White Boy Summer as an explicitly anti-LGBTQ+ movement. According to the Republic of Texas Proud Boys, White Boy Summer “is a movement aimed at liberating white men from the guilt and remorse that modern subculture tries to burden them with” which was created as a response to “ridiculous events established in the summer months with the support of multinational companies, which normalize sexual deviations and attack everything genuinely masculine and traditional as ‘toxic’.” A political figure in Europe has also joined in on White Boy Summer to spread homophobic bigotry. João Antunes, the President of Chega Juventude Coimbra, a youth group associated with the Portuguese far-right party “Chega” (Enough), tweeted in celebration of Pride Month being incumbered by “increasing anti-LGBT sentiment,” “Foreigners Out chant turn[ing] viral,” “Anti-LGBT parties rise in Europe,” and “Christ is King chants in the streets,” before expressing with glee that this all happened “ahead of white boy summer.”

The Republic of Texas Proud Boys, targeting the LGBTQ+ community, shares a post defining White Boy Summer as a response to “sexual deviations.” (Source: Telegram)

More so than in 2023, extremists are currently targeting Pride month as something which needs to be “canceled” in favor of White Boy Summer. In many cases, this includes vandalism of Pride flags. Proud Boys Long Island shared a post reading, “White boy summer is in effect until further notice” below an image of a picture saying “BREAKING: PRIDE MONTH CANCELLED (sic)” Other channels like the Bear Flag Nationalists, an Active Club-like group based in California, and No Quarter Corner, the latter based in Canada, shared similar posts. 

White supremacists of various stripes celebrated destroying a number of Pride flags all in the name of White Boy Summer. White Lives Matter California, signaling that “White Boy Summer has Commenced,” praised “f*g flag bandits” for vandalizing Pride flags and signs. Ultras Not Reds shared footage of Pride flags being burned and trampled on in Poland and France, before making another post using White Boy Summer to encourage further vandalism of Pride Flags, saying “Pride month has been cancelled (sic) for WBS!”

Ultras Not Reds, a European Telegram channel, shares images of white supremacists burning and trampling on Pride flags in Poland and France. (Source: Telegram)

In Ukraine, a far-right group has used WBS to try to draw supporters into the war. The Ukraine Front, a Telegram channel dedicated to the “white resistance,” posted a recruitment message to those outside Ukraine asking whether they wanted “to experience a real White Boy summer in 2024” through a brigade comprised of Azov veterans, which would let them “train, learn and fight with white brothers,” and “kill n****** and communists.” The post has since been deleted from the Ukraine Front Telegram channel.

In a now-deleted post, the Ukraine Front invokes White Boy Summer so that people can “kill n****** and communists” (Source: Telegram)

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