Richard B. Spencer

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For other individuals called Richard Spencer, see Richard Spencer
Richard B. Spencer
Born Richard Bertrand Spencer
(1978-05-11) May 11, 1978 (age 38)
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.[1]
Residence Whitefish, Montana, U.S.
Nationality American
Citizenship United States
Education St. Mark's School of Texas
Alma mater University of Virginia
University of Chicago
Occupation Author
Known for President & Director
The National Policy Institute
Executive Director
Washington Summit Publishers
Spouse(s) Nina Kouprianova (separated)
Parent(s) William B. Spencer
Sherry Spencer

Richard Bertrand Spencer (born May 11, 1978) is an American white nationalist, known for promoting white supremacist views.[2][3][4] He is president of the National Policy Institute, a white nationalist think-tank, and Washington Summit Publishers, an independent publishing firm. Spencer has stated that he rejects the description of white supremacist, and describes himself as an identitarian.[5][6] He advocates for a white homeland for a "dispossessed white race" and calls for "peaceful ethnic cleansing" to halt the "deconstruction" of European culture.

Spencer and others have said that he created the term "alt-right",[7] a term he considers a movement about white identity.[8][9][10]

Spencer has repeatedly quoted from Nazi propaganda and spoken critically of the Jewish people,[10][11] although he has denied being a neo-Nazi. Spencer and his organization drew considerable media attention in the weeks following the 2016 presidential election, where, in response to his cry "Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!", a number of his supporters gave the Nazi salute similar to the Sieg Heil chant used at the Nazis' mass rallies. Spencer has defended their conduct, stating that the Nazi salute was given in a spirit of "irony and exuberance".[12]

Early life

Spencer grew up in Dallas, Texas. He was born to William B. Spencer, an ophthalmologist, and Sherry Spencer.[13] In 1997, Spencer graduated from St. Mark's School of Texas. In 2001, he received a B.A. with High Distinction in English Literature and Music from the University of Virginia and, in 2003, an M.A. in the Humanities from the University of Chicago. He spent the summer of 2005 and 2006 at the Vienna International Summer University.[14] From 2005 to 2007, he was a doctoral student at Duke University studying modern European intellectual history, where he was a member of the Duke Conservative Union. He left Duke "to pursue a life of thought-crime."[13][15]


From March 2007 to December 2007, Spencer was an Assistant Editor at The American Conservative magazine. According to founding editor Scott McConnell, Spencer was fired from The American Conservative because his views were considered too extreme.[13] From January 2008 to December 2009, he was executive editor of Taki's Magazine.[16]

In March 2010, Spencer founded, a website he edited until 2012. He says he created the term alt-right.[10][17]

In January 2011, Spencer became Executive Director of Washington Summit Publishers. In 2012, Spencer founded Radix Journal as a biannual publication of Washington Summit Publishers. Contributors have included Kevin B. MacDonald, Alex Kurtagić, Samuel T. Francis, and Derek Turner. He also hosts a weekly podcast, Vanguard Radio (a successor to AltRight Radio).[citation needed]

In January 2011, Spencer also became President and Director of The National Policy Institute, a think tank previously based in Virginia and Montana.[18]

Spencer has been published at Right Now!, American Renaissance, Peter Brimelow's, The Occidental Observer, and other publications.[citation needed]

Groups and events Spencer has spoken to include the Property and Freedom Society,[19] the American Renaissance conference,[20] and the HL Mencken Club.[21] In November 2016, an online petition was signed by "thousands of students, employees, and alumni" to prevent Spencer from speaking at Texas A&M University on December 6, 2016.[22] While the event took place on the grounds of the 1st amendment because Texas A&M is a public university, a protest and "a large counter-event" were held at the same time.[23]


Spencer advocates for a white homeland for a "dispossessed white race" and calls for "peaceful ethnic cleansing" to halt the "deconstruction" of European culture.[16][24][25] According to a 2010 article by Alex Knepper on David Frum's, Spencer is an admirer of Friedrich Nietzsche, based upon "a hideously poor reading" of his works.[26]

In 2013, the Anti-Defamation League recognized Spencer as a leader in white supremacist circles, saying that since his time at The American Conservative, he has rejected conservatism, because according to Spencer, its adherents "can't or won't represent explicitly white interests."[27]

In a 2016 interview for Time magazine, Spencer said that he rejected white supremacy and slavery of nonwhites, preferring to establish America as a white ethnostate.[10][28]

Spencer opposes same-sex marriage,[29] which he described as "unnatural", a "non-issue," and that "very few gay men will find the idea of monogamy to their liking".[30] Matthew Heimbach of the Traditionalist Youth Network (TYN) was reportedly disinvited from an NPI event for his anti-gay views, while Jack Donovan, an openly gay alt-right author, was a key speaker.[31]

Spencer openly supports American president-elect Donald Trump and called Trump's presidential victory as "the victory of will", a phrase akin to the Leni Riefenstahl's Nazi-era propaganda film.[10] Upon Trump's appointment of Steve Bannon as his chief of staff, Spencer said Bannon would be in "the best possible position" to influence policy. This echoed similar remarks from David Duke, former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, who said Bannon's appointment was “excellent” and had created “the ideological aspects of where we’re going.”[32]


In 2014, Spencer was deported from Budapest, Hungary, and via the Schengen Agreement, is banned from 26 countries in Europe for three years, after trying to organize National Policy Institute Conference, a conference for white nationalists.[4][33]

In mid-November 2016, excerpts of Spencer giving a speech at an alt-right conference attended by approximately 200 people in Washington, D.C., showed audience members cheering and making the Nazi salute when he said, “Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!”[10][34]


In January 2013, according to multiple news outlets, as well as an accounting of the event himself,[35] Spencer got into an unpleasant exchange with Randy Scheunemann, John McCain's former foreign policy aide during his 2008 bid for the presidency. The two men were on a ski lift at a private ski resort called The Big Mountain Club. Then months later, at the club's New Year's Eve Party that next winter, the two men again exchanged heated words. Scheunemann complained about Spencer and wanted him kicked out of the club. The club decided that instead Scheuneman would lose his membership privileges. Spencer eventually resigned his membership. The event, because it was covered widely in the American press, increased local public awareness of Spencer, that he and his work were at least partially based in Whitefish some of the year. This resulted in rallies and local anti-racist efforts against Spencer and his company.[36]

The National Policy Institute think tank has a mailing address in Whitefish, Montana, which shares an address with the Alternative Right/Radix online forum. In 2013, Rachel Maddow reported a link between the Montana-based National Policy Institute and The Heritage Foundation's report, written by their Senior Policy Analyst, Jason Richwine, that was critical of the U.S. Senate's 2013 Immigration Act.[37]

Spencer had published the same report on his AltRight website, and defended both reports as it related to his views on nationalism.[38] Spencer responded by seeing the Maddow segment as helping to raise his and his organization's profile.[39][40]

In 2014, local residents in Missoula, Montana, through the Whitefish City Council, initiated a non-discrimination resolution, and an organization called Love Lives Here, which is part of the Montana Human Rights Network, held rallies against Richard Spencer and National Policy Institute because the organization and Spencer was located there.[41][42]

In December 2016, Republican Representatives Ryan Zinke and Steve Daines, Democratic Representative Jon Tester, Democratic Governor Steve Bullock and Republican Attorney General Tim Fox condemned the "anti-Semitic views" held by neo-Nazis planning a march in support of Spencer in Whitefish in January 2017.[43]

Personal life

In 2010, Spencer moved to Whitefish, Montana. He says he splits his time between Whitefish and Arlington, Virginia,[24][44] although he has said he has lived in Whitefish for over 10 years, and considers it home.[35]

He was married to Russian American writer Nina Kouprianova, also known as Nina Byzantina.[45] As of October 2016, the couple is separated.[13]


  1. ^ Burghart, Devin (27 June 2014). "Who is Richard Spencer?". IREHR. Retrieved 7 December 2016. 
  2. ^ Peoples, Steve (July 24, 2016). "Energized white supremacists cheer Trump convention message". The Associated Press. Cleveland, OH. 
  3. ^ Wines, Michael; Saul, Stephanie (July 5, 2015). "White Supremacists Extend Their Reach Through Websites". The New York Times. 
  4. ^ a b Gelin, Martin (November 13, 2014). "White Flight: America's white supremacists are ignored at home. So they are looking to start over with a little help from Europe's far right". Slate. Budapest, Hungary. 
  5. ^ Ehrenfreund, Max (November 21, 2016). "What the alt-right really wants, according to a professor writing a book about them". Washington Post. Retrieved November 24, 2016. 
  6. ^ Posner, Sarah (October 18, 2016). "Meet the Alt-Right 'Spokesman' Who's Thrilled With Trump's Rise". Rolling Stone. 
  7. ^ Spencer, Richard (August 6, 2008). "The Conservative Write". Taki's Magazine. 
  8. ^ "Alternative Right". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved November 22, 2016. 
  9. ^ Wallace-Wells, Benjamin (May 5, 2016). "Is the Alt-Right for Real?". The New Yorker. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f Goldstein, Joseph (November 20, 2016). "Alt-Right Exults in Donald Trump's Election With a Salute: 'Heil Victory'". The New York Times. 
  11. ^ Stahl, Jeremy (2016-11-21). "Meet the Neo-Nazi Steve Bannon's site described as a leading "Intellectual."". Retrieved 2016-11-26. 
  12. ^ Barajas, Joshua. "Nazi salutes 'done in a spirit of irony and exuberance', alt-right leader says". PBS NewsHour. Retrieved November 25, 2016. 
  13. ^ a b c d Harkinson, Josh (October 27, 2016). "Meet The Dapper White Nationalist Who Wins Even If Trump Loses". Mother Jones. 
  14. ^ Stadler, Friedrich. "Statement on behalf of the Institute Vienna Circle" (PDF). Institute Vienna Circle. Retrieved 2 December 2016. 
  15. ^ "About". Retrieved November 22, 2016. 
  16. ^ a b "Alternative Right". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved November 22, 2016. 
  17. ^ Bokhari, Allum; Yiannopoulos, Milo (March 29, 2016). "An Establishment Conservative's Guide To The Alt-Right". Breitbart. 
  18. ^ OPP HQ (November 23, 2014). "A New Building Goes Up in Montana - Courtesy of White Supremacist Dick Spencer". One People's Project. Whitefish, MT. 
  19. ^ Richard, Spencer (June 3–7, 2010). "The 'Alternative Right' in America" (Video). Fifth Meeting of the Property and Freedom Society. Bodrum, Turkey. 
  20. ^ Spencer, Richard (April 5, 2013). "American Renaissance Conference: Facing the Future as a Minority". The National Policy Institute. 
  21. ^ Spencer, Richard (May 6, 2013). "Richard Spencer kicks off the Fourth Annual HLMC Meeting". The Mencken Club. 
  22. ^ Mangan, Katherine (November 28, 2016). "Richard Spencer, White Supremacist, Describes Goals of His 'Danger Tour' to College Campuses". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved November 29, 2016. 
  23. ^ Jaschik, Scott (December 7, 2016). "Protests Greet White Supremacist at Texas A&M". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved December 8, 2016. 
  24. ^ a b Scott, Tristan (November 26, 2014). "Who is Richard Spencer?". Flathead Beacon. 
  25. ^ Kirchick, James (October 18, 2014). "A Racist's Crazy Ski Resort Smackdown". The Daily Beast. 
  26. ^ Knepper, Alex (March 14, 2010). "Richard Spencer's Nordic Supermen". 
  27. ^ "Richard Spencer: A Symbol Of The New White Supremacy". Anti-Defamation League. May 14, 2013. 
  28. ^ Altman, Alex (April 14, 2016). "The Billionaire and the Bigots: How Donald Trump's Campaign Brought White Nationalists Out of the Shadows". Time. (subscription required (help)). 
  29. ^ Spencer, Richard B. (August 5, 2010). "The Inevitability of Gay Marriage". Radix Journal. 
  30. ^ Spencer, Richard (June 26, 2013). "The End of the "Culture War"". The National Policy Institute. 
  31. ^ Hatewatch Staff (August 18, 2016). "Some White Nationalists Continue to Court the LGBT Community". Southern Poverty Law Center. 
  32. ^ The Editorial Board (November 15, 2016). "Steve 'Turn On the Hate' Bannon, in the White House". The New York Times. 
  33. ^ Pintér, Sándor (September 29, 2014). "Minister of Interior bans racist conference". Website of the Hungarian Government. 
  34. ^ Lombroso, Daniel; Appelbaum, Yoni (November 21, 2016). "'Hail Trump!': Video of White Nationalists Cheering the President-Elect" (Includes excerpted video). The Atlantic. 
  35. ^ a b Spencer, Richard B. (November 26, 2014). "Skiing With The Enemy". Radix Journal. 
  36. ^ Baldwin, Matt (November 25, 2014). "Fight at Whitefish Mountain resort gets national spotlight". Whitefish Pilot. 
  37. ^ Sakariassen, Alex (May 13, 2013). "Rachel Maddow calls out white "nationalist" nonprofit in Flathead". Missoula Independent. Segment, "Our People", starts at 2:13 
  38. ^ Moody, Chris (May 9, 2013). "Heritage immigration study co-author penned articles for 'nationalist' website". Yahoo! News. 
  39. ^ Spencer, Richard (May 13, 2013). "Opportunity Smears [Support]". The National Policy Institute. Archived from the original (Blog) on June 11, 2013. 
  40. ^ Council takes stand in support of diversity. Whitefish Pilot. Retrieved November 24, 2016. 
  41. ^ "Whitefish City Council Minutes" (PDF). City of Whitefish. November 17, 2014. 
  42. ^ Desch, Heidi (December 2, 2014). "Council takes stand in support of diversity". Whitefish Pilot. 
  43. ^ Coffman, Keith; Johnson, Eric M. (December 27, 2016). "Montana Lawmakers Unite To Denounce Neo-Nazi Rally Plans". Forward. Retrieved December 29, 2016. 
  44. ^ Spencer, Richard B. (December 2, 2014). "Defending free expression". Whitefish Pilot. 
  45. ^ Kouprianova, Nina. "Nina Byzantina". Retrieved November 22, 2016. 

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