White nationalist Richard Spencer is famous for getting punched in the face, and his recent attempt to hold a rally at the University of Florida campus only further cemented his reputation as a loser, as a public records request has revealed the check to pay for the event’s security costs bounced.
Spencer and his organization, the National Policy Institute (NPI), had originally been denied when they requested to speak at the UF campus shortly after the violence at a rally they helped organize in Charlottesville, Virginia. NPI threatened to sue UF, claiming Spencer’s free speech rights were being violated, and UF allowed NPI to plan an event a month later.
NPI was required to cover $10,564 for security costs at the event venue, UF’s Phillips Center, but the actual security costs to be borne by the university and local law enforcement was estimated beforehand to be over half a million dollars, as The Capitolist reported.
On October 19, the day of the event, despite Spencer and NPI getting international press attention and having absolute control over ticketing and media credentials for the event, he was only able to attract a few dozen supporters — multiple media and eyewitness reports put the count at around forty people — and they were quickly shouted down by UF student counterprotesters.
The students in the auditorium kept up a variety of chants, songs, and even Gator football cheers the entire time and Spencer was rendered nearly or completely inaudible. Spencer shouted back at the students but to no avail. In frustration, he cut his planned speaking time short and left the stage.
Also, as a UF alumna myself, I note with pride how naive Spencer was to think he could shout down Gators. UF students happily spend hours in blazing hot “it ain’t the heat, it’s the humidity” subtropical weather for home football games, standing the entire time on the sunny side of the stadium and loving every minute of it. Crowd noise at The Swamp is so loud that there’s a plausible urban legend that it’s set off Richter scale alerts a few miles from the stadium. An hour in an air-conditioned auditorium against some khaki-clad dweebs? Ha!
Spencer was a victim of his own demands in the planning for the event. Since NPI had control over who was admitted to the event and it was not an official university event, UF security was under no obligation to enforce standards of decorum on any attendee to remain quiet and allow Spencer to speak. Spencer would have had to paid for extra security personnel and directed them to remove the noisy students, but he failed to do that.
Turns out, he barely managed to pay for the relatively petty amount he was asked to cover. The check that NPI wrote to UF for the $10,564 security costs bounced, according to documents produced in a public records request by the Gainesville Sun. According to the Sun, NPI sent a check on October 6th, which was returned for insufficient funds. NPI was charged a $40 returned check fee and later paid that plus the original $10,564 via wire transfer on October 12.
UF Spokeswoman Janine Sikes confirmed to the Sun that NPI’s check had bounced and the amount due was paid by wire transfer.
The Sun’s report also includes the amusing details that Spencer requested a playlist that included five songs by Depeche Mode, specifically requesting “Where’s the Revolution?”, the first single from their album Spirit that was released earlier this year.
Spencer had previously praised the band, claiming to be a “lifelong Depeche Mode fan” and calling them the “official band of the alt-right” in an interview at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Maryland back in February.
The band’s reaction was swift, vicious…and vulgar. Speaking with Billboard, lead singer Dave Gahan dismissed him as a “guy [who] gets way too much publicity” and called him a four-letter word beginning with “C” that’s too vulgar to print here.
The band’s management issued a statement condemning Spencer in a more genteel fashion: “That is a pretty ridiculous claim. Depeche Mode has no ties to Richard Spencer or the alt-right and does not support the alt-right movement.”
Depeche Mode’s songwriter Martin Gore similarly mocked Spencer’s clear misinterpretation of their music, telling The Guardian, “I mean where did it come from? We don’t agree on anything they stand for. You could probably pick any one of our albums and there’d be a track with lyrics totally contrary to what they believe. It’s really baffling.”
One would think having literally worldwide media stories about a band calling you an obscene name for a part of the female anatomy would make Spencer too embarrassed to try to publicly associate himself with Depeche Mode’s music, but he seems to enjoy reminding people he’s a loser.
To recap: despite a massive amount of free media promotion, Spencer failed to attract even a full busload’s worth of supporters, was completely shouted down by Gators, was unable to get his message heard, and has been exposed as unable to keep track of his organization’s finances, giving yet one more reason for colleges where he attempts to have future events on campus to deny his request or to add additional hurdles.
While The Capitolist does not condone violence, this writer believes it is perfectly fine to mock Nazi losers once they’ve already been punched in the face, so here is a clip of Spencer getting his bell rung, with a backing soundtrack of Depeche Mode’s 1981 hit, “Just Can’t Get Enough.” Enjoy!
Photo by Stacey Steinberg.
Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter: @rumpfshaker.