Richard B. Spencer

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For other people named Richard Spencer, see Richard Spencer.
Richard B. Spencer
File:Richard B. Spencer in 2016.jpg
Spencer in November 2016
Born (1978-05-11) May 11, 1978 (age 40)
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Residence Whitefish, Montana, U.S.
Education St. Mark's School of Texas
Alma mater University of Virginia
University of Chicago
Duke University
Occupation Author, publisher
Known for President & Director
The National Policy Institute
Executive Director
Washington Summit Publishers
Spouse(s) Nina Kouprianova (separated)
Children 1

Richard Bertrand Spencer (born May 11, 1978) is an American white supremacist.[1] He is president of the National Policy Institute, a white nationalist think tank, as well as Washington Summit Publishers. Spencer has stated that he rejects the label of white supremacist, and prefers to describe himself as an identitarian.[2][3][4] He has advocated for a white homeland for a "dispossessed white race" and called for "peaceful ethnic cleansing" to halt the "deconstruction" of European culture.[5]

Spencer and others have said that he created the term "alt-right",[6] which he considers a movement about white identity.[7][8][9] Breitbart News described Spencer's website as "a center of alt-right thought."[10]

Spencer has repeatedly quoted from Nazi propaganda and denounced Jews, and has on several occasions refused to denounce Adolf Hitler.

Spencer and his organization drew considerable media attention in the weeks following the 2016 presidential election, where, at a National Policy Institute conference, in response to his cry "Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!", a number of his supporters gave the Nazi salute and chanted in a similar fashion to the Sieg heil chant used at the Nazis' Nuremberg rallies. Spencer has defended their conduct, stating that the Nazi salute was given in a spirit of "irony and exuberance".[11]

Early life

Spencer was born in Boston, Massachusetts,[12] the son of ophthalmologist William B. Spencer and Sherry Spencer (née Dickenhorst).[13][14] He grew up in Dallas, Texas. In 1997, he graduated from St. Mark's School of Texas. In 2001, Spencer 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.[15] 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.[13] His website says he left Duke "to pursue a life of thought-crime."[16]


From March to December 2007, Spencer was 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.[13] From January 2008 to December 2009, he was executive editor of Taki's Magazine.[17]

In March 2010, Spencer founded, a website he edited until 2012. He has stated that he created the term alt-right.[9]

In January 2011, Spencer became Executive Director of Washington Summit Publishers.[18] In 2012, Spencer founded Radix Journal as a biannual publication of Washington Summit Publishers.[17] Contributors have included Kevin B. MacDonald, Alex Kurtagić, Samuel T. Francis, and Derek Turner.[19] He also hosts a weekly podcast, Vanguard Radio.

In January 2011, Spencer also became President and Director of The National Policy Institute (NPI), a think tank previously based in Virginia and Montana.[20]

In 2014, Spencer was deported from Budapest, Hungary (and because of the Schengen Agreement, is banned from 26 countries in Europe for three years), after trying to organize the National Policy Institute Conference, a conference for white nationalists.[21][22]

On January 15, 2017 (Martin Luther King. Jr.'s birthday), Spencer launched, another commentary website for alt-right members.[23] According to Spencer, the site is a populist and big tent site for members of the alt-right.[24] The Southern Poverty Law Center describes the common thread among contributors as antisemitism, rather than white nationalism or white supremacism in general.[25][26]

On February 23, 2017, Spencer was removed from the Conservative Political Action Conference where he was giving statements to the press. A CPAC spokesman said he was removed from the event because other members found him "repugnant".[27]

Public speaking

During a speech Spencer gave in mid-November 2016 at an alt-right conference attended by approximately 200 people in Washington, D.C., audience members cheered and made the Nazi salute when he said, "Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!"[9][5]

Groups and events Spencer has spoken to include the Property and Freedom Society,[28] the American Renaissance conference,[29] and the HL Mencken Club.[30] In November 2016, an online petition to prevent Spencer from speaking at Texas A&M University on December 6, 2016 was signed by thousands of students, employees, and alumni.[31] A protest and a university-organized counter-event were held to coincide with Spencer's event.[32]

On January 20, 2017, Spencer attended the inauguration of Donald Trump. As he was giving an impromptu interview on a nearby street afterwards, a man with his face covered came up, punched Spencer in the face, then ran off.[33][34] A video of the incident was posted online and prompted much comment, with some commentators welcoming the attack and others deploring it.[35] Spencer tweeted in response to the incident that white nationalists should provide themselves with physical protection if police will not.[36]


In 2013, a dispute at a ski club in his hometown of Whitefish, Montana, drew public attention to Spencer and his political views.[37]

The National Policy Institute think tank,, and Radix Journal all use the same mailing address in Whitefish, Montana.[38]

In 2014, local residents in Missoula, Montana, through the Whitefish City Council, initiated upon a non-discrimination resolution, and an organization called Love Lives Here, which is part of the Montana Human Rights Network, rallied against Richard Spencer's residency there.[39]

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 a neo-Nazi march planned for January 2017. The march is in support of Spencer's mother, who is being pressured by community members for not disavowing her son's beliefs.[40]



According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Spencer has advocated for a white homeland for a "dispossessed white race" and called for "peaceful ethnic cleansing" to halt the "deconstruction" of European culture.[17][18][41] To this end he has supported what he has called "the creation of a White Ethno-State on the North American continent", an "ideal" that he has regarded as a "reconstitution of the Roman Empire."[42][43] Prior to Britain's vote to leave the EU, Spencer expressed support for the multi-national bloc "as a potential racial empire" and an alternative to "American hegemony", stating that he has "always been highly skeptical of so-called 'Euro-Skeptics.'"[44]

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."[45]

Spencer has repeatedly quoted from Nazi propaganda and denounced Jews,[9][46] and has on several occasions refused to denounce Adolf Hitler. In one interview in which he was asked if he would condemn the KKK and Hitler, he refused, saying "I’m not going to play this game," while stating that Hitler had "done things that I think are despicable," without elaborating on which things he was referring to.[47]

In a 2016 interview for Time magazine, Spencer said he rejected white supremacy and the slavery of nonwhites, preferring to establish America as a white ethnostate.[48]


Spencer opposes same-sex marriage,[49] which he has described as "unnatural" and a "non-issue," commenting that "very few gay men will find the idea of monogamy to their liking".[50]

Spencer barred people with anti-gay views from the NPI's annual conference in 2015.[51]

Donald Trump

Spencer openly supported Donald Trump in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and called Trump's victory "the victory of will", a phrase echoing the title of Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will, a Nazi-era propaganda film.[9] Upon Trump's appointment of Steve Bannon as chief White House strategist and senior counselor, Spencer said Bannon would be in "the best possible position" to influence policy.[52]


In an interview with Radix Journal early 2017, Spencer called Islam an "an expansive, domineering ideology, and one that is directed against Europe" and asserted that "large-scale Islamic migration has no place in Europe." He also referenced Samuel Huntington's Clash of Civilizations model, stating the religion posed "a grave danger for European peoples," but that the U.S. and Europe should stop "the ongoing chaos and destruction they have caused in the Middle East."[53]

Personal life

In 2010, Spencer moved to Whitefish, Montana. He says he splits his time between Whitefish and Arlington, Virginia,[42][54] although he has said he has lived in Whitefish for over 10 years, and considers it home.[55]

He was separated from his wife Russian American Nina Kouprianova, a political analyst on modern and contemporary Russia, culture, and U.S. foreign policy.[56] She also goes by the nom de plume, Nina Byzantina.[57] They have one child together, a daughter.[58] The couple separated in October 2016.[13] Spencer is an atheist, though he has said that "state and religion are deeply connected", religion "is fundamentally about community, people, and the state," and a "secular government could never exist."[59]


  1. Maya Oppenheim (2017-01-23). "Alt-right leader Richard Spencer worries getting punched will become 'meme to end all memes'". The Independent. Retrieved 2017-02-25. 
  2. Ehrenfreund, Max (November 21, 2016). "What the alt-right really wants, according to a professor writing a book about them". Washington Post. Retrieved November 24, 2016. 
  3. Posner, Sarah (October 18, 2016). "Meet the Alt-Right 'Spokesman' Who's Thrilled With Trump's Rise". Rolling Stone. 
  4. 5.0 5.1 Lombroso, Daniel; Appelbaum, Yoni (November 21, 2016). "'Hail Trump!': White Nationalists Salute the President-Elect" (Includes excerpted video). The Atlantic. Retrieved January 23, 2017. 
  5. Spencer, Richard (August 6, 2008). "The Conservative Write". Taki's Magazine. 
  6. "Alternative Right". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved November 22, 2016. 
  7. Wallace-Wells, Benjamin (May 5, 2016). "Is the Alt-Right for Real?". The New Yorker. 
  8. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 Goldstein, Joseph (November 20, 2016). "Alt-Right Exults in Donald Trump's Election With a Salute: 'Heil Victory'". The New York Times. 
  9. David Corn (2016-11-14). "Here's Why It's Fair—and Necessary—to Call Trump's Chief Strategist a White Nationalist Champion". Mother Jones. Retrieved 2017-03-14. 
  10. Barajas, Joshua. "Nazi salutes 'done in a spirit of irony and exuberance', alt-right leader says". PBS NewsHour. Retrieved November 25, 2016. 
  11. Burghart, Devin (June 27, 2014). "Who is Richard Spencer?". IREHR. Retrieved December 7, 2016. 
  12. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Harkinson, Josh (October 27, 2016). "Meet The Dapper White Nationalist Who Wins Even If Trump Loses". Mother Jones. 
  14. Stadler, Friedrich. "Statement on behalf of the Institute Vienna Circle" (PDF). Institute Vienna Circle. Retrieved December 2, 2016. 
  15. "About". Retrieved November 22, 2016. 
  16. 17.0 17.1 17.2 "Alternative Right". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved November 22, 2016. 
  17. 18.0 18.1 Kirchick, James (October 18, 2014). "A Racist’s Crazy Ski Resort Smackdown". The Daily Beast. 
  18. The Great Erasure (Radix Journal)
  19. OPP HQ (November 23, 2014). "A New Building Goes Up in Montana – Courtesy of White Supremacist Dick Spencer". One People's Project. Whitefish, MT. 
  20. Gelin, Martin (November 13, 2014). "White Flight: America's white supremacists are ignored at home. So they are looking to start over with a little help from Europe’s far right". Slate. Budapest, Hungary. 
  21. Pintér, Sándor (September 29, 2014). "Minister of Interior bans racist conference". Website of the Hungarian Government. 
  22. "Alt Right Moving From Online to Real-World Activity". Retrieved 2017-02-22. 
  23. Wilson, Jason (2017-01-25). "The weakening of the 'alt-right': how infighting and doxxing are taking a toll". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-02-22. 
  24. "Richard Spencer and White Supremacists Aim for Bigger Platform With ‘’". The Forward. Retrieved 2017-02-21. 
  25. "Richard Spencer Launches 'Alt-Right' Website on Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Birthday". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 2017-02-21. 
  26. Bobic, Igor (23 Feb 2017). "White Nationalist Richard Spencer Booted Out Of CPAC". Huffington Post. Retrieved 24 February 2017. 
  27. Southern Poverty Law Center, "[PayPal Co-Founder Peter Thiel to Address White Nationalist-Friendly “Property and Freedom Society” Conference in September," June 9, 2016.
  28. Spencer, Richard (April 5, 2013). "American Renaissance Conference: Facing the Future as a Minority". The National Policy Institute. 
  29. Spencer, Richard (May 6, 2013). "Richard Spencer kicks off the Fourth Annual HLMC Meeting". The Mencken Club. 
  30. Mangan, Katherine (November 28, 2016). "Richard Spencer, White Supremacist, Describes Goals of His ‘Danger Tour’ to College Campuses". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved November 29, 2016. 
  31. Jaschik, Scott (December 7, 2016). "Protests Greet White Supremacist at Texas A&M". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved December 8, 2016. 
  32. "Watch White Nationalist Richard Spencer Get Punched". Time. January 20, 2017. Retrieved January 21, 2017. 
  33. Murphy, Paul P. "White nationalist Richard Spencer punched during interview". CNN. Retrieved 2017-01-21. 
  34. Stack, Liam. "Attack on Alt-Right Leader Has Internet Asking: Is It O.K. to Punch a Nazi?". New York Times. Retrieved 2017-01-22. 
  35. "@richadbspencer If law enforcement can't protect us from antifa assaults we will begin protecting ourselves.". Retrieved 2017-01-23. 
  36. Baldwin, Matt (November 25, 2014). "Fight at Whitefish Mountain resort gets national spotlight". Whitefish Pilot. 
  37. Sakariassen, Alex (May 13, 2013). "Rachel Maddow calls out white "nationalist" nonprofit in Flathead". Missoula Independent. Segment, "Our People", starts at 2:13 
  38. Desch, Heidi (December 2, 2014). "Council takes stand in support of diversity". Whitefish Pilot. 
  39. Coffman, Keith; Johnson, Eric M. (December 27, 2016). "Montana Lawmakers Unite To Denounce Neo-Nazi Rally Plans". Forward. Retrieved December 29, 2016. 
  40. Chris Graham (November 22, 2016). "Nazi salutes and white supremacism: Who is Richard Spencer, the 'racist academic' behind the 'Alt right' movement". The Telegraph. 
  41. 42.0 42.1 Scott, Tristan (November 26, 2014). "Who is Richard Spencer?". Flathead Beacon. 
  42. Spencer, Richard B. (September 28, 2016). "Facing the Future As a Minority". Radix Journal. Retrieved March 11, 2017. 
  43. Spencer, Richard B. (May 25, 2016). ""Euro-Skepticism" Skepticism". Radix Journal. Retrieved March 11, 2017. 
  44. "Richard Spencer: A Symbol Of The New White Supremacy". Anti-Defamation League. May 14, 2013. 
  45. Stahl, Jeremy (2016-11-21). "Meet the Neo-Nazi Steve Bannon’s site described as a leading "Intellectual"". Retrieved 2016-11-26. 
  46. Bandler, Aaron (November 25, 2016). "5 Things To Know About Alt-Right Leader Richard Spencer". The Daily Wire. Retrieved March 14, 2017. “Hitler is a historical figure,” he said. “He’s done things that I think are despicable. I’m not going to play this game.” 
  47. Altman, Alex (April 14, 2016). "The Billionaire and the Bigots: How Donald Trump's Campaign Brought White Nationalists Out of the Shadows". Time. (Subscription required (help)). 
  48. Spencer, Richard B. (August 5, 2010). "The Inevitability of Gay Marriage". Radix Journal. 
  49. Spencer, Richard (June 26, 2013). "The End of the "Culture War"". The National Policy Institute. 
  50. Falvey, Rose (August 18, 2016). "Some White Nationalists Continue to Court the LGBT Community". Southern Poverty Law Center. 
  51. The Editorial Board (November 15, 2016). "Steve ‘Turn On the Hate’ Bannon, in the White House". The New York Times. 
  52. Durolle, Thierry (15 February 2017). "Richard Spencer's Interview With Europe Maxima". Radix Journal. Retrieved 1 April 2017. 
  53. Spencer, Richard B. (December 2, 2014). "Defending free expression". Whitefish Pilot. 
  54. Spencer, Richard B. (November 26, 2014). "Skiing With The Enemy". Radix Journal. 
  55. Empty citation (help) |url= Kouprianova|accessdate=March 12, 2017
  56. Michel, Casey (December 18, 2016). "Meet the Moscow Mouthpiece Married to a Racist Alt-Right Boss". The Daily Beast. 
  57. Kouprianova, Nina. "Nina Byzantina". Retrieved November 22, 2016. 
  58. Spencer, Richard. "The Alt Right and Secular Humanism". Retrieved 28 January 2017. McAfee: Are you religious? Do you support the Separation of Church and State? Spencer: I’m an atheist. 

External links