A decade ago, New Zealander Julie Hill was briefly friends with the alt-right figure Richard Spencer.
That friendship ended as quickly as it began, Hill wrote in a column for New Zealand’s The Spinoff, when Spencer mistook her request for German tutoring from him as attraction while they were studying the language together in Berlin.
Hill and Spencer were the only English-speakers in her program, and despite his “diabolical” accent, he was a much better German speaker than she. After having an informal tutoring session over Vietnamese food in which she revealed her discomfort with her current housing situation, Spencer said she could crash in the spare room at the house where he was staying.
After revealing he liked to play a game called “Lesbian or just German?”, “I was beginning to think this guy might be a bit of an arsehole,” Hill wrote of Spencer.
“Later, he confirmed my suspicions by going on an unprompted rant about why Mexicans shouldn’t be let into the United States,” she wrote. “We fought about this for some time, but trying to argue with Spencer was a lot like repeatedly smashing one’s head into a brick wall, so eventually I gave up and went to bed.”
But in the middle of the night, Spencer appeared at the door of the spare room where Hill was sleeping wearing nothing but boxers.
“Evidently, he’d thoroughly misinterpreted my burning desire to improve my grammar,” she wrote. “He said ‘hi.’ I said ‘f*ck off.’ Thankfully, he did.”
After that, however, Spencer (or “Richard the Republican,” as he was nicknamed) became Hill’s “nemesis.”
“In class, he would go off on lengthy, tedious monologues that had even our teacher rolling his eyes,” she wrote. “On one occasion, he and I ended up in a stand-up shouting match, during which I had to switch to English because there aren’t enough good swear words in German. Our class was composed of people of all ages, from all walks of life, and from all parts of the planet, but if there was one thing that united us, it was that we hated Richard Spencer’s guts.”
In one such tirade, Spencer (who was then getting his PhD at Duke, though he later dropped out) claimed he didn’t believe that the white Duke lacrosse players embroiled in a rape scandal at the time could truly have raped the woman accusing them “because why would they want to have sex with a black woman?”
“There is a German word that applies well to Spencer: Backpfeifengesicht,” Hill wrote. “It means ‘a face that is crying out for a slap.'”