In something that’s easily connectable to Donald Trump’s rise to power, white supremacist Richard Spencer has suddenly become widely relevant, finding opportunities to spread his hate all around the country.
On Thursday, Spencer appeared at the University of Florida to deliver a speech. Unsurprisingly, seeing as Spencer’s ideology represents little more than a modernized version of Nazism, a large protest presence rose up against Spencer — including some protesters who managed to get into the auditorium.
In a video taken from inside the venue at which Spencer was speaking this Thursday, dozens of individuals can be seen having gotten up out of their seats and chanting slogans like, “Nazis are not welcome here.”
Spencer tried to cast his words as an exercise of free speech, but as been pointed out time and time again at this point, the principle of free speech does not cover hate speech.
Spencer, while speaking over the chanting protesters, called his early afternoon speaking engagement the “premier event for free speech in this country,” making it seem like — in a move that feels quite similar to those undertaken by our commander in chief — Spencer is more concerned with asserting himself than he is with anything else.
Such is, in truth, the core of his philosophy — he believes that only people who look and think like him should be here.
The National Policy Institute — Spencer’s organization — was apparently put in charge of the event, including deciding who would get to come in and who wouldn’t, with the University itself providing backup support. Thus, these individuals who shouted down Spencer’s speech apparently managed to keep their intentions hidden until they made it inside.
The Thursday event is Spencer’s first major public appearance since the deadly gathering of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, over a weekend earlier this fall. That weekend ended with three people dead; the stated purpose of the gathering of the thousands of white supremacists was to protest the city’s planned removal of a statue honoring Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. Apparently, to people like Spencer, statues of dead slaveholders are at least as important as actual, living, breathing human beings.
University President W. Kent Fuchs has responded to the controversy, asserting that “the school could not stop [Spencer] from renting the Phillips Center for the event.”
Check out video of the protesters inside the venue below.
— Alejandro Alvarez (@aletweetsnews) October 19, 2017