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Students Shout Down Richard Spencer’s “White Country” Speech at UF

| October 19, 2017

St. Johns County Sheriff's deputies in riot gear heading for Gainesville today. (SJSO)

St. Johns County Sheriff’s deputies in riot gear heading for Gainesville today. (SJSO)

White-nationalist Richard Spencer brought his “alt-right” movement to the University of Florida Thursday, calling America a “white country,” but his message was drowned out.

Attempting to speak over the derisive shouts and chants from a diverse and hostile crowd at the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, Spencer and others attempted to preach about what they called the failure of diversity and the success of identity politics.

But the perpetual heckling quashed much of the dialogue, angering Spencer, who mocked the university students throughout his remarks.

“You think that you shut me down, but you didn’t. You even failed in your own game,” Spencer, head of the National Policy Institute, told the crowd before departing. “The world is going to look at this event and the world is going to have a very different impression … and the world is not going to be proud of you.”

Mike “Enoch” Peinovich, host of The Right Stuff podcast, told the crowd that their chants and actions “is the best recruiting tool you can ever give us.”

Outside, hundreds stood in protest on a barricaded street where law enforcement from throughout the state stood watch, on the road, on roofs, in nearby woods, in helicopters and through drones. Gov. Rick Scott had earlier in the week declared a state of emergency for Alachua County in advance of Spencer’s appearance.

While Scott’s emergency declaration helped to increase tension across campus, Thursday’s event was relatively calm and resulted in just two arrests, according to the Alachua County Sheriff’s office.

One man was charged with resisting an officer without violence, according to the sheriff’s office. Another man was arrested for carrying a firearm on campus, a violation of state law. According to the sheriff’s office, Sean Brijmohan, a 28-year-old from Orlando, was an armed security guard hired by the media.

Inside, about 30 white-shirted supporters lined the front two rows, cheering Spencer and other speakers during the 90-minute event. Those in the front rows were separated by several empty rows from the more inflamed audience members that were targeted by the speakers for supporting “anti-white” diversity.

Many students and faculty strongly opposed Spencer’s appearance, which UF President Kent Fuchs and others urged the university community to boycott.

The school had initially denied Spencer’s request to speak. But Fuchs has noted that, while Spencer’s appearance isn’t sponsored by any student group, the public university couldn’t lawfully prohibit the event based on the content or views expressed in the speech.

During his speech, Spencer said he was glad Fuchs “stood behind him” and allowed the event to go on. His remarks drew a hasty rebuke from Fuchs.

“For the record, I don’t stand behind racist Richard Spencer. I stand with those who reject and condemn Spencer’s vile and despicable message,” Fuchs tweeted Thursday afternoon.

Matt Rawlson, a freshman from Orlando majoring in communications and history, said Spencer’s grasp of history appears “impressive,” but the message remains “despicable.”

“The protests were incredible, it was astounding just how loud it was,” said Rawlson, who said he attended to hear what Spencer had to say. “It was too loud at some points to my liking, but I think overall I’m very, very proud of the student body and the university as a whole.”

Spencer said those in the audience, many of them students, were acting like “childlike Antifa” — anti-fascists — and that all the world will hear is “a bunch of screeching and grunting morons.”

His jibes were delivered over a crowd whose chants included “Nazis are not welcome here,” “go home Spencer,” “black lives matter,” accompanied by raised fists and the middle finger.

The crowd also blamed Spencer for a death at a “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville in August, when Heather Heyer was killed after a car plowed into a crowd of counter-protestors. Dozens of others were injured.

The “moron” comment drew cheers from some in the crowd, which then broke into a chant of “Let’s go Gators, let’s go.” That prompted Spencer to jab back, saying “nothing says committed leftist like supporting a football program.”

During a question-and-answer session following his speech, Spencer was asked “Why do you think you’re welcome here when it took a court order to get you here?” Another opponent asked Spencer if he believed “the words that come out of your mouth.” Another wanted to know “am I white enough?”

Prior to the speech, Spencer held a press conference that he opened by confronting an NBC reporter about the distribution of tickets.

NBC reported earlier in the day that the tickets were only going to supporters, based upon the information they had been given at the time. The network updated the posting to say tickets would go to anyone who wanted one.

Spencer later claimed “the alt-right is a revolutionary movement in the best sense of the word.

“We truly do want to change the world,” Spencer said. “We think another world is possible.”

He said non-whites, who favor mass-immigration and multi-culturalism and global America, have other countries in which they can go reside.

“It would be a much more peaceful world, it would be a much more meaningful world for all human beings, it would be a better and more beautiful world if people like me were in power,” Spencer said.

He and a group of his supporters, who joined him onstage during the press conference, disavowed they were responsible for violence at past events.

He said he initially believed his college tour, where “controversial and dangerous” could be discussed, would be easy.

But Spencer said he has found “road blocks at every place along the way.”

“I am bringing ideas that are not being taught in this stifling, PC, academic environment we all live through,” Spencer claimed.

The school charged Spencer’s National Policy institute more than $10,000 to rent the building, but security costs for the UF event have grown to $600,000. An estimated 500 law enforcement officers, from the around the state were reportedly on campus Thursday.

–Jim Turner, News Service of Florida

9 Responses for “Students Shout Down Richard Spencer’s “White Country” Speech at UF”

  1. Knightwatch says:

    It seems free speech met free speech, and hate lost. We need to keep doing this. If they speak with a voice, we counter with a hundred, or a thousand, or 10s of thousands.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The right of free speech is costly financially sometimes, but was Initially paid for with our soldiers lives on the battle field. This right must be preserved at all cost, even when we detest the speaker, as in this case.

  3. Josh Davis says:

    Wrong. This idiot is looking for attention. The media and the protesters give him the attention he desperately craves. Responding and reacting means he’s getting the recognition he’s looking for. You want these fools to go away? Don’t act like they exist.

  4. Flatsflyer says:

    It’s fine to let these idiots speak, but why aren’t they charge the full cost of the event they want to hold. By the way the number of LEO’s and associated cost seem ridiculous. Do the math, $1,200 per is simply insane. The appearance of armed miilitary simply statedt reminds me of Nazi Germany. And Trump wants to give more “surplus” equipment to local Sheririfs, none of the equipment looked used or in any condition that the armed forces could not use. How about we cut military spending so as not to fill warehouses with surplus equipment that Trump has at his disposal?

  5. George says:

    You hit the nail on the head, this is exactly what needs to happen every single time. There are a lot of ignorant people in the world and many of them ignorant enough to support the thinly veiled racist “alt-right” movement. But a majority of people are not fooled by the name “alt-right”, they see it for what it is…just a bunch of white racists. They aren’t fooling anyone.

  6. Bill says:

    Flats I do think this NUT job had to pay for the use of the facility. The major cost was for “security” NOT from him and or any nut jobs who follow him but the other nut jobs of antifi and other leftists who have no issues using violence to shut down others speech.

  7. Flatsflyer says:

    I read that he was charged $10,000. by the University for the venue. My point is that if $600,000. was incurred he should have been charged the full amount. There is no rational reason that taxpayers should pick up the tab. If he baulked at the actual cost then his options where to hold his event in a Wal Mart parking lot or a vacant field at the airport. No need for air conditioning, comfortable seats and most of the force protection was for his benefit and safety. They could have told him to hired a private security, one that the University approved. I venture to say the event would have never been held and the decision would have been his and his alone.

  8. Sherry says:

    @ Bill, Brian. . . et al Let’s actually discuss FACTS!

    Please post a link to your “credentialed” evidence/facts/statistics proving that left wing extremism is “usually the case” when violence erupts. Remember Charlottesville?

    All my research reveals that right winged extremism (the Alt Right/white supremacists/Nazis) are far more responsible for deaths in the USA. . . even more that Islamic terrorists:
    . . .:

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