Far-right leader and white nationalist Richard Spencer was punched in the face and spat on by anti-Trump protesters in downtown Washington, D.C. on Friday during the inauguration festivities.
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One of the attacks was captured on video. The video shows the interview leading up to the attack, in which Spencer denies being a neo-Nazi and begins to show the interviewer the “Pepe the Frog” pinned to his jacket. Suddenly, a masked man in a hooded sweatshirt rapidly approached Spencer and hits him hard on the side of his face, gets in another blow to his body, and runs off.
Afterwards, Spencer posted a 10-minute live video with his own account of the attack.
Spencer said that he was with members of a group called "Stateless Media" who were doing a documentary on him and the alt-right when they encountered demonstrators in Franklin Square. A woman who recognized him “started screaming at me” and “created a scene.”
Normally, Spencer said “I like getting into it with liberals and anti-fascists” and he began talking to his critics, but then, he said it got “edgy” as they made a ring around him and began to get physical. He said he was attacked and hit once by an assailant, but then while talking about the attack on camera with another media outlet, “the man came back” and hit him again.
“He came out of nowhere and punched me he didn’t really land it and it didn’t hurt that much,” Spencer said in the Periscope video he posted to his followers in the alt-right. He said that this and other incidents proved to him their movement was entering a new, more dangerous era.
“I am used to antifascists coming up to me and yelling at me and shooting at me with silly string but I didn’t think it would go beyond that,” he said. But now “we are in a new world” in which “antifascists aren’t just going to scream at us, they are going to attack us.” As a result, he said, “I’m going to have to think about operational security.”
Spencer is founder and president of a group called National Policy Institute which is "dedicated to the heritage, identity, and future of people of European descent." His profile rose dramatically when a video showed his address to a conference of his organization, celebrating two weeks after Donald Trump’s victory, raising their hands stiffly in salute crying out “hail Trump, Hail our people, Hail Victory!” was widely disseminated.
In recent months, he has been at the center of a controversy in Whitefish, Montana. Spencer’s mother, who owns a building in Whitefish containing offices and vacation apartments which she claimed she has been “forced to sell” under pressure from those hostile to her son’s activities.
Subsequently the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer published photographs of Jewish residents of a Montana town associated with the human rights groups Spencer’s mother associated with the pressure campaign against her. Photoshopped onto the pictures were Holocaust-era yellow stars bearing the word “Jude,” accompanied with their names and contact information and a call for readers to attack their social media accounts to “tell them you are sickened by their Jew agenda to attack and harm the mother of someone whom they disagree with.”
An armed, neo-Nazi march in Whitefish had been scheduled to take place on January 15, but was postponed when organizers failed to get a permit for it. The organizer, Andrew Anglin, promised it would take place in February and “will be bigger and have more guns and special guests than we originally planned.”
The video of Spencer getting punched, meanwhile, has gone viral across the Internet, with some enjoying the sight so much, they created a repetitive GIF.