Gavin McInnes, founder of Proud Boys, has publicly distanced himself from the far-right fraternal group amid its members facing heightened scrutiny from law enforcement officials in the U.S. and abroad.

“I am officially disassociating myself from the Proud Boys, in all capacities, forever,” the Canadian co-founder of Vice Media said in a video statement Wednesday.

“I was told to use the term ‘stepping down’ but I refused because that makes no sense,” he said. “I was never the leader, only the founder.”

Mr. McInnes, 48, made the announcement on the heels of his internationally dispersed band of self-described “western chauvinists” attracting the attention of authorities in New York City, Washington state, Australia and elsewhere over a series of recent stunts at political rallies and events.

The New York City Police Department is investigating a violent street brawl that erupted after Mr. McInnes spoke at the Metropolitan Republican Club in Manhattan on Oct. 12, and he said in the video statement that his separation from the group could potentially help several defendants facing charges.

“I’m told by my legal team and law enforcement that this gesture could help alleviate their sentencing. Fine. At the very least, this will show jurors they are not dealing with a gang and there is no head of operations,” he said in the video.