Alt-Right Leader Heckled During Speech at UF

Richard Spencer's speech 'mostly drowned out,' per one newspaper
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 19, 2017 5:15 PM CDT
Alt-Right Leader Heckled During Speech at UF
White Nationalist Richard Spencer Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017, at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Fla.   (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Richard Spencer gave his much-anticipated speech at the University of Florida in Gainesville Thursday and, not surprisingly, the white supremacist leader was greeted with protests. CNN says the "vast majority" of those protesting at the event were against Spencer, and that many of those inside the venue where he spoke stood with fists raised and chanted things including, "Go home Spencer" and "Nazi scum off our streets" as he spoke. Spencer was visibly frustrated and "combative" at times, the network reports, at one point telling the audience, "I'm not going home, I will stand here all day if I have to." The Los Angeles Times reports that there were Spencer supporters in the front of the audience, and they chanted things including "You will not replace us"; a speaker who introduced Spencer said, "We represent a new white America."

As for Spencer himself, he discussed the "ideal" of a white nation (he has called for a separate nation for whites) and told hecklers that they were attempting to stifle free speech. In the end, the Gainesville Sun says his attempts to speak were "mostly drowned out." During a Q&A session following his speech, one person asked him what it felt like to get punched in the face on camera, to which he responded, "Yeah, it hurts when someone punches you in the face. Is that a real question? ... Are you threatening me with violence?" Someone else asked about Heather Heyer, the protester killed at the Charlottesville "Unite the Right" rally, and Spencer said the man arrested for her death is a "scapegoat" and what really happened to her is "unclear." There was some violence outside, with a man wearing a swastika-covered shirt punched in the face. A security guard hired by the media was arrested for carrying a firearm on campus. (More Richard Spencer stories.)

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