In audio first put online by right-wing pundit and provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos on Saturday, white nationalist Richard Spencer can allegedly be heard ranting about Jewish people and mixed-race people.
The audio — purportedly from an emergency meeting that took place on August 13, 2017, the day after the far-right “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, disintegrated into violence, resulting in the murder of a counterprotester named Heather Heyer — features Spencer screaming racist and anti-Semitic slurs he has generally avoided using in public in an effort to more politely argue for “the creation of a White Ethno-State.”
Spencer is perhaps the most prominent and arguably the most successful of the so-called “alt-right” white nationalist activists attempting to inject overtly racist ideas into mainstream political thought. In fact, Spencer can be credited (alongside Peter Brimelow and Paul Gottfried) with inventing the term “alt-right,” resulting in the magazine Alternative Right in 2010. I emailed Spencer for comment and will update if I hear back.
By appearing polite and somewhat well dressed (with multiple ill-fitting waistcoats, for example) and using watered-down terminology like “peaceful ethnic cleansing,” the “self-styled prophet” of the alt-right has waged a media campaign for the last several years to build his own reputation and that of his movement, using Donald Trump’s campaign as a vehicle to make the case for a seemingly kinder, gentler white nationalism.
In interviews Spencer and other white nationalists give to mainstream audiences (like those watching him on CNN and on college campuses), white nationalism is simply a civil rights movement for white people, taking a stand for white Americans in need of defending — at the very least, a differing viewpoint worthy of contemplation and analysis.
That was a lie, as has been blatantly obvious for more than a decade. But now, the mask — or perhaps more aptly, the hood — has dropped, hopefully for good.