Musician and entertainer Megan Dooley says she’s been getting anonymous calls since a run-in with three men in Proud Boys shirts in downtown Kalamazoo last Saturday. One caller threatened to cause trouble at her next show, but she says her fans are too smart to be baited.
Critics say the Proud Boys, which has chapters around the country, is a hate group in everything but name. Members have marched with white supremacists. Two were recently convicted of rioting after clashing with opponents in New York City, and founder Gavin McInnes has bashed women, transgender people and Muslims.
Dooley was one of several people who followed the men out of Bell’s Eccentric Café on Saturday. She put their picture and their license plates on Facebook.
“If these men want to wear propaganda in public that pushes an agenda of hate towards marginalized people, or violence, then I’m going to definitely let the public know that they’re there,” she said.
“I wanted people to know that there’s a presence like this in our town, because we have a really welcoming, really tight-knit community,” she said.
Dooley says she’s gotten several hostile messages since then, including a voicemail from a person who didn’t leave their name suggesting there could be trouble when she plays at O’Duffy’s Pub Thursday night.
“We’ll see what it’s like when we stop by old K-zoo,” the caller said at the end of the message.
Dooley says there won’t be trouble because her supporters won’t be provoked.
"I think they’re really hoping that we’re unhinged enough to do something stupid, which is not true. We’re all very intelligent, very calm, very level-headed, very educated people that just want the presence of love to be felt more than the presence of hate,” she said.
Bell’s, which underwrites on WMUK, declined to comment on the incident outside of a written statement, which notes that the brewery and Café “is open to all and promotes an environment of inclusion.”
“Our policy is, and has always been, that we do not permit intolerance of any kind,” it continues. “Bell's also does not support any type of communication that condones or supports hate, violence and the groups who encourage it.
We continue to refine how to address these situations when they arise.”
O’Duffy’s did not respond to a request for comment by deadline.
Correction: A previous version of this story misidentified the date that Dooley talked to the Proud Boys. It was Saturday, not Friday.