Richard B. Spencer
- For other individuals called Richard Spencer, see Richard Spencer
|Richard B. Spencer|
|Born||Richard Bertrand Spencer
May 11, 1978
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Residence||Whitefish, Montana, U.S.|
|Education||St. Mark's School of Texas|
|Alma mater||University of Virginia
University of Chicago
|Known for||President & Director
The National Policy Institute
Washington Summit Publishers
|Spouse(s)||Nina Kouprianova (separated)|
|Parent(s)||William B. Spencer
Richard Bertrand Spencer (born May 11, 1978) is an American white nationalist, known for promoting white supremacist views. 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. 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 has repeatedly quoted from Nazi propaganda and spoken critically of the Jewish people, 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".
Spencer grew up in Dallas, Texas. He was born to William B. Spencer, an ophthalmologist, and Sherry Spencer. 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. 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."
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. From January 2008 to December 2009, he was executive editor of Taki's Magazine.
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).
Groups and events Spencer has spoken to include the Property and Freedom Society, the American Renaissance conference, and the HL Mencken Club. 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. 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.
Spencer advocates for a white homeland for a "dispossessed white race" and calls for "peaceful ethnic cleansing" to halt the "deconstruction" of European culture. According to a 2010 article by Alex Knepper on David Frum's FrumForum.com, Spencer is an admirer of Friedrich Nietzsche, based upon "a hideously poor reading" of his works.
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."
Spencer opposes same-sex marriage, which he described as "unnatural", a "non-issue," and that "very few gay men will find the idea of monogamy to their liking". 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.
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. 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.”
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.
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!”
In January 2013, according to multiple news outlets, as well as an accounting of the event himself, 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.
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.
Spencer had published the same report on his AltRight website, and defended both reports as it related to his views on nationalism. Spencer responded by seeing the Maddow segment as helping to raise his and his organization's profile.
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.
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.
In 2010, Spencer moved to Whitefish, Montana. He says he splits his time between Whitefish and Arlington, Virginia, although he has said he has lived in Whitefish for over 10 years, and considers it home.
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- Sakariassen, Alex (May 13, 2013). "Rachel Maddow calls out white "nationalist" nonprofit in Flathead". Missoula Independent.
Segment, "Our People", starts at 2:13
- Moody, Chris (May 9, 2013). "Heritage immigration study co-author penned articles for 'nationalist' website". Yahoo! News.
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- Council takes stand in support of diversity. Whitefish Pilot. Retrieved November 24, 2016.
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- Kouprianova, Nina. "Nina Byzantina". About.me. Retrieved November 22, 2016.