Everyone knew Richard Spencer was a vile man. Since the very inception of the Alt-Right movement, the country’s most high profile neo-Nazi used the rhetoric of political correctness and the complacency of media platformers to reframe inherently hateful ideologies as being somehow reasonable. The toxic underbelly was no secret, yet the media establishment bought his narrative hook, line, and sinker. As his behind-the-scenes ramblings begin to make the media rounds, the people are now demanding an answer as to why.
Thanks to newly leaked audio from Milo Yiannopolous, the ever-controversial reactionary pundit, Spencer’s grimy mask as the so-called “dapper white nationalist” simply arguing for “peaceful ethnic cleansing” began to slip. In the fallout of his organised Charlottesville protest, which resulted in the murder of leftist anti-fascist activist Heather Heyer by a fellow neo-Nazi, Spencer devolved into a fit of rage as the negative press began to unfold. The rant, which has since been viewed by over 2.8 million users and was trending across America, is quite explicit in its bigotry. Readers should view cautiously.
“We are coming back here like a hundred fucking times,” Spencer screamed at the top of his lungs from some undisclosed public event. “I am so mad. I am so fucking mad at these people. They don’t do this to fucking me. We are going to fucking ritualistically humiliate them. I am coming back here every fucking weekend if I have to. Like this is never over. I win! They fucking lose! That’s how the world fucking works. Little fucking kikes. They get ruled by people like me. Little fucking octoroons … I fucking … my ancestors fucking enslaved those little pieces of fucking shit. I rule the fucking world. Those pieces of fucking shit get ruled by people like me. They look up and see a face like mine looking down at them. That’s how the fucking world works. We are going to destroy this fucking town.”
In a follow-up statement to Vox, Yiannopoulos revealed the audio was recorded by someone whose identity he has verified and was later confirmed by three separate sources within the alt-right movement. “As for why I published it,” he continues. “I have always publicly hated Spencer, and he has always publicly hated me. He thinks I’m a degenerate racemixing kike and I think he’s a knuckledragging racist in a cheap suit. As you will recall, he was paid to sneak into a bar I was singing karaoke in and throw up Nazi salutes and film it without my knowledge. So it has been very satisfying for me to draw a crisp bright red line between the two of us.”
Remember, the fact of Spencer being this vile behind closed doors is not the point of the story. It’s interesting to see his clean-cut facade smashed before our eyes, sure, yet it speaks more to those who made that perception an assumed reality. The best example in the mainstream being outlets like CNN who were given the social media whipping over their continued association with Spencer, including interviews or punditry portraying the far-right class as being influential in size, self-critical in their analysis of the president, and worth engaging as a person of interest rather than a subject of contention.
Anyone who heard these tapes would know these are not serious people to be treated as guests. These are deranged activists with the very ideology being warned about for years. And for some time, mainstream played apologist and independent reactionary media outright dropped the ball in characterizing the far-right as “misrepresented” dissidents. The worst offender being commentators like Lauren Chen (a so-called “Christian nationalist” better known as “Roaming Millennial”) who posted a three-part uncritical interview with Spencer to her YouTube channel.
At the time, the content was brought up for questioning by Natalie Wynn, the rising left-wing YouTube personality otherwise known as ContraPoints, who criticized the Blaze Media pundit for allowing Spencer to play a “public relations man for National Socialism” in order to “whitewash his ideology” for a large audience. Although the video has since been unlisted from Chen’s YouTube audience, credit goes to AngryWhiteMen.org for their decent outline of the original exchange also detailed below. She has continued to stand-by the original interview to this day.
“I felt that from the interview there was no point where you really said, ‘Hold on, you wanna relocate 60 million people potentially against their will and you expect us to believe that that’s gonna be peaceful?’,” Wynn inquired about her approach. Chen only replied that Spencer “never said ‘against their will’” and that he favored “incentivizing” their relocation, failing to recognize the policy would necessitate violence whether we’re talking tax harvesting, bureaucratic coercion or outright police goon squads enforcing racialized eminent domain. Specifically against “kikes” and “octaroons”, referring not only to those who are obviously Jewish or black but also 1/8th mixed race (which can include highly white-presenting figures). Talk about a purity spiral ready to explode.
As we know now, this form of unhinged racist violence of “destroying cities” to “rule over the slaves” would be explicit by design. It should go without saying that simply taking the word of such radical ideologues is disqualifying of a media watchdog. Nevertheless, Chen persisted that she “take[s] issue with” labeling Spencer a “Nazi” because “we need to distinguish between someone who has racist views that we can still definitely disagree with and an ideology that actually promotes violence,” noting Spencer “actually disavowed white supremacy” without the slightest indication he could be lying. Whether stupidity or malice, falling head over heels for someone with the aesthetics of a con-man, the internal ramblings of an American Psycho and offers a “dangerous disguise to his true motives” in politics is to be expected of Chen.
But hindsight is 2020. What was the context at the time?
Well, when Spencer first received attention in 2016, he burst onto the scene through a published video speech by The Atlantic, showcasing Spencer’s best Nazi salutes, his shouting about “hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!”, his condemning of a fake news media under the original Nazi term of “lügenpresse” and declaring that “to be white is to be a crusader and a conquerer”, implying his worldview necessitates white people as violent leaders of some Darwinian natural order the way of the Crusades or the Roman empire. Which part of his record did people miss? If you couldn’t see the smoke before your own eyes beyond this point, let alone after the recent revelations, you start to believe it must be a conscious choice on the media’s part. A sharp suit can only go so far, after all.
“So again,” Wynn states, “to me what was dangerous about it is that I think that Richard Spencer has a talent for presenting these ideas in a way that makes them seem like they’re sort of within the realm of what could be reasonably discussed,” Wynn said. Chen responds with a surprised laugh. “It sounds a lot like your problem with the interview was that Richard Spencer came across too well, that he represented his points too reasonably, and has it occurred to you that maybe he isn’t exactly what the media has been trying to push?” Except the media was divided on how to handle Spencer, focusing on those sharp suits and polite words to give some ironic charm to someone lost on those who found him repulsive.
This day/night conduct of Spencer also extends beyond politics into his previously divorce filings with his ex-wife, Nina Kouprianova, who revealed credible allegations of brutal domestic violence backed up by text messages, phone recordings, and other material proving his abusive nature. “[She was] reluctant to call the police or seek an order of protection for fear of further reprisal by her husband,” her lawyers argued on her behalf. “Much of the abuse has occurred in the presence of the parties’ children and during her pregnancy.” The affidavit claims that Spencer once shouted: “The only language women understand is violence. I’m famous, and you are not! I’m important, and you are not!” She later argued that it was his “alcohol consumption” that contributed to “this aggressive and erratic behavior and reduces his impulse control.”
At the heart of Spencer’s ideology, creeping closer into the mainstream in the Trump era, is impulse control. Dozens of mass shootings and terror plots by the hand of white supremacist ideology has only increased in recent years, whether we’re talking the Tree of Life synagogue shooting in early October of 2018 that left 11 people dead to the Christchurch mosque massacre that left 51 people dead. When it comes to this fake rhetoric of a “peaceful ethnic cleansing,” it never manifests in the way Spencer portrays in front of the spotlight. In the Spencer behind closed doors, it’s “I rule the fucking world” and “hose pieces of fucking shit get ruled by people like me.” And to frame these people as anything beyond rebranded Nazis is to submit.
Thank you for reading. This article was published for TrigTent, a bipartisan media platform for political and social commentary. Bailey Steen is a journalist, editor, and designer from Australia. You can read their work on Medium and previous publications such as Janks Reviews and Newslogue.
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