Alt-right leader Richard Spencer worries getting punched will become 'meme to end all memes'

White supremacist was punched in the face on camera while talking to a journalist after Donald Trump's inauguration

Maya Oppenheim
Monday 23 January 2017 12:57 GMT
Alt-right leader Richard Spencer punched in the face during inauguration protest

Richard Spencer has said he is worried the video of him being punched in the face after the inauguration of Donald Trump will become “the meme to end all memes”.

Spencer, a white supremacist, was punched in the face in downtown Washington while being interviewed by a journalist at the anti-Trump protest. Prior to the punch, onlookers had started asking him questions such as: "Did he like black people and was he a member of the KKK?"

The "alt-right" leader was explaining the meaning of his Pepe the Frog badge, a cartoon character who has become a symbol for white nationalism, when he was punched by a man dressed in black.

The video of Spencer, who is credited with coining the term "alt-right", immediately prompted a torrent of jokes, memes and remixed videos on social media.

“I’m afraid this is going to become the meme to end all memes,” Spencer said in a periscope video. “That I’m going to hate watching this.”

In the video titled “The assault on me”, he said he was left with a black eye on Saturday and was going to have to start considering “operational security”. He told viewers he was recording the video from what he called a “safe space”.

“I was planning to go out tomorrow during the Women’s March to do some journalism but I can’t do that anymore,” Spencer told viewers. “I have reached a stage of being a public figure where I am going to be recognised and then be attacked."

The footage of Spencer being punched has been remixed to everything from Thin Lizzy’s “The boys are back in town” to Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA”.

Jon Fareau, a former speech-writer for Barack Obama, tweeted: “I don't care how many different songs you set Richard Spencer being punched to, I'll laugh at every one.”

Spencer is a leader and spokesperson for the so-called “alt-right” movement – a political movement which has been accused of racism, antisemitism and misogyny and of sharing an ideology with far-right parties such as the French National Front.

Spencer, who is president of the far-right National Policy Institute, has previously said he rejects the label of white supremacist and instead calls himself an “identitarian”. He supports a white homeland for a “dispossessed white race” and calls for “peaceful ethnic cleansing” to put a stop to the “deconstruction” of European culture.

On Saturday, Spencer told the New York Times he was not a Nazi but was simply a member of the "alt-right" which he refers to as “identity politics for white Americans and for Europeans around the world".

He said Nazism was a “historical term” which was not able to "resonate today”.

“German National Socialism is a historic movement of the past. It arose at a very particular time and had particular motives and ideas and policies and styles, and those aren’t mine,” he said.

Spencer sparked outrage when he made a number of allusions to Nazi ideology during a speech at a conference in Washington in November.

“Hail Trump! Hail our people! Hail victory!” he declared, prompting audience members to leap to their feet in applause, with several appearing to make drawn-out Hitler salutes.

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