White nationalist Richard Spencer gets gym membership yanked after confrontation with professor
An Alexandria, VA gym revoked “alt-right” leader Richard Spencer’s membership after Spencer was confronted by a Georgetown University professor “who recognized him and lambasted him” over his far-right, racist beliefs, said the Washington Post on Sunday.
Spencer has become notorious in recent months as the election of President Donald Trump has strengthened and emboldened the white nationalist movement, which holds that the U.S. is a white Christian nation which should be racially “purified” through “peaceful ethnic cleansing.”
Last Wednesday, the Post said, Associate Professor C. Christine Fair of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service was working out at Alexandria’s Old Town Sport&Health gym when she spotted Spencer — who has set up the innocuous-sounding National Policy Institute (NPI), a fringe right-wing think tank in northern Virginia — and decided to confront him.
In a Tumblr post about the incident, Fair wrote that she walked up and asked, “Are you Richard Spencer?” to which the “alt-right” standard-bearer replied, “No, I’m not.”
“I said, ‘Of course you are, so not only are you a Nazi — you are a cowardly Nazi,’ ” recounted Fair in an interview. “I just want to say to you, I’m sick of your crap — that this country belongs [to people like you]. . . . As a woman, I find your statements to be particularly odious; moreover, I find your presence in this gym to be unacceptable, your presence in this town to be unacceptable.”
In her Tumblr post, Fair wrote. “I exploited the full range of my first amendment entitlements by telling him that this country does not belong to white men. As a white woman, I find his membership at this gym to be unacceptable. I found his membership at this gym to be an unfair burden upon the women and people of color–and white male allies of the same. I also loudly identified him as a neo-Nazi.”
Spencer has vehemently denied being a Nazi, but he is making an academic distinction between his movement and the German National Socialist Party of the 1930s and 40s. He may not have taken over beer halls with 1930s Nazis, but he has publicly and openly given Nazi salutes while shouting “Heil, Trump!” as well as repeatedly stating that “America belongs to white men.”
Fair pointed to the rally last week in Charlottesville, VA in which Spencer and other white nationalists marched carrying torches to protest the removal of monuments to former Confederate war heroes.
“To complete the f*ckwitery he and his associate desported about with Tiki torches…because KKK-standard-issue torches are no longer available at Walmart,” wrote Fair.
Spencer told BuzzFeed.com that after his run-in with Fair, the health club canceled his membership. He described himself as a “well-behaved,” “model gym-goer” who is being unfairly discriminated against and maligned.
“I don’t come to the gym to do politics. But she started screeching and yelling all this stuff,” he complained to BuzzFeed. “”I can’t believe she’s a professor. She’s an imbecile.”
Fair wrote that she discussed the situation with the gym’s general manager who was initially supportive of Spencer’s right to work out there so long as he didn’t harass or bother anyone.
She told BuzzFeed that that whatever Spencer’s private views, he is a “public bigot with a long history of degrading hate speech against those who are not white, Christian males.”
A case could be made for a class action suit in which the gym’s other patrons sue for an environment where they are not “subjected to this man” who has made his name through “hate-mongering.”
“Ultimately, I think the corporate office made a business decision to protect the club from such lawsuits,” Fair said.