RUTHERFORD – Borough officials stepped in Thursday to block the founder of the far-right Proud Boys from holding a comedy show at a downtown arts center.

Gavin McInnes had been planning to bring the “Cognitive Dissidents Tour” to Queens, New York, but the venue canceled it Monday and McInnes tried to shift it to the Williams Center in Rutherford.

He didn’t publicly announce where it would be, other than “in Jersey about a half hour west of Times Square” and in the Meadowlands area. Location details were emailed to ticket holders Thursday.

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“Tonight is going to be LIT!” McInnes wrote Thursday morning on Gettr, an alternative to Twitter, which banned McInnes in 2018. “Venue is amped and responded to threats by offering free beer to all ticket holders!”

By late afternoon, McInnes said the “cops got spooked” and shut down the show, which he said would be delayed until Friday and held in Long Island, New York.

“The chief of police in Rutherford NJ is threatening the venue hosting our comedy show tonight. ‘It’s a matter of public safety,’” McInnes wrote on Gettr.

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Mayor Frank Nunziato said in a message on Rutherford’s Facebook page Thursday evening that the borough didn’t know the event was planned until word of it circulated on social media.

“Online intelligence led the Police Department to believe that the event had the potential for confrontation,” Nunizato said. “After discussions with the owner, the event has been canceled.”

Nunziato said Police Chief John Russo had managed the situation with the state and county officials and advised residents that despite the cancelation, there would be an increased police presence downtown as a precaution.

Antifa activists have been trying to pressure venues not to host the McInnes comedy tour.

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Michael Symons is the Statehouse bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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