Richard Bertrand Spencer (born 1978) is an American neo-Nazi and white supremacist. He is president of the National Policy Institute (NPI), a white supremacist think tank, as well as Washington Summit Publishers. Spencer rejects the labels white supremacist and neo-Nazi, considers himself a white nationalist, a white identitarian, and the equivalent of a "Zionist" for white people. Spencer created the term "alt-right", which he considers a movement based on "white identity". Spencer advocates white-European unity, a "peaceful ethnic cleansing" of nonwhites from America, and the creation of a "white racial empire," which he believes would resemble the Roman Empire. Spencer has publicly engaged in Nazi rhetoric on many occasions, for which he has been criticized by the political mainstream, as well as by many fellow white nationalists.
In early 2016, Spencer was filmed giving the Nazi salute in a karaoke bar. After Donald Trump was elected President, Spencer urged his supporters to "party like it's 1933," the year Hitler came to power in Germany. In the weeks following, Spencer quoted Nazi propaganda and denounced Jews. Later, in response to Spencer's cry "Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!", a number of his supporters gave the Nazi salute and chanted in a similar fashion to the Sieg Heil chant. Spencer has expressed admiration for the tactics of American Nazi Party founder George Lincoln Rockwell. Spencer was a featured speaker at the August 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, during which an alt-right supporter drove his car into a group of counter-protesters, killing one and injuring at least 19 others. Spencer denies any role or culpability in the attack, but has been sued for allegedly acting as a "gang boss" at Charlottesville and inciting the killing. After three supporters of Spencer were charged with attempted homicide following his October 2017 speech at the University of Florida, Ohio State and several other universities cancelled Spencer's appearances.
Spencer has been accused of repeatedly beating, threatening, and verbally abusing his ex-wife Nina Kouprianova, who has provided hours of recordings and text messages to the press in order to substantiate her allegations. According to media reports, the recordings and text messages show Spencer telling his wife that he will "fucking break [her] nose," encouraging her to commit suicide, and apologizing for previous incidents of physical abuse. Spencer denies the allegations.
The majority of European nations, including the entire Schengen Area, and nations with nationalist governments, have banned Spencer and condemned his "racial European" message and his call for a "white racial empire". While promoting his message in a controversial speaking tour in Hungary, Spencer was mocked by the Hungarian newspaper Népszabadság for his call for "a white Imperium" through a revival of the Roman Empire, and for his claim to be a "racial European", ideas that the newspaper called contrived and without any basis in European history. In the aftermath of the controversy, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán pressed through legislative measures which banned his entry and condemned Spencer. The government of Poland has also banned him from entering the country and condemned Spencer, citing Spencer's Nazi rhetoric, the anti-Polish and anti-Slavic racism of the Nazis, and the Nazis' genocide of Slavic Untermenschen during World War II. In July 2018, Spencer was detained at Keflavík Airport in Reykjavík, Iceland en route to Sweden and was ordered by Polish officials to return to the United States; the successful effort of the Poles to ban Spencer from other parts of Europe arises from the Schengen Agreement.