On November 3, an audio clip was leaked of white nationalist Richard Spencer going on an angry tirade in the aftermath of the deadly 2017 “Unite the Right” rally. In the clip, which was posted by ex-Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos, Spencer could be heard yelling that Jews and non-whites were meant to be “ruled” by white people like himself.
“Little fucking kikes, they get ruled by people like me,” he screamed at one point. “Little fucking octoroons! … My ancestors fucking enslaved those fucking pieces of fucking shit! I rule the fucking world! Those pieces of shit get ruled by people like me!”
In the aftermath of the clip’s release, CNN was excoriated for inviting Spencer on television as recently as July. Spencer was always a racist who encouraged ethnic cleansing and considered Jews to be a separate race. Why did it take this audio for people to understand the depths of his hatred for people who don’t look like him?
But this problem wasn’t limited to mainstream media outlets.
In 2017, months before the rally that gave birth to this outburst, Lauren Chen (better known as “Roaming Millennial”) posted a three-part interview with Spencer to her YouTube channel. Chen, who now works for Blaze Media and calls herself a “Christian nationalist,” was criticized for giving him a platform.
In response, on May 5, 2017, Chen sat down for an interview with one of her most vocal critics, left-wing YouTube personality Natalie Wynn. In the video which is now unlisted on Chen’s YouTube channel, Wynn argues that if Chen was going to bring Spencer on she should have at least pushed back against his talking points.
Calling Spencer a “public relations man for National Socialism,” Wynn said Chen’s interview gave Spencer an opportunity to whitewash his ideology for a large audience.
For example, Spencer claimed that millions of non-whites in this country could be “incentivized” to peacefully relocate in order to create a white ethnostate. Common sense would suggest that many millions of people would not want to leave, and that violent confrontations would be inevitable.
As Wynn said, “I felt that from the interview there was no point where you really said, ‘Hold on, you wanna relocate 60 million people potentially against their will and you expect us to believe that that’s gonna be peaceful?'” Chen replied that Spencer “never said ‘against their will'” and that he favored “incentivizing” their relocation.
Wynn’s countered by saying that Hitler, when he took power, did not tell German citizens that the ultimate goal would be the genocide of the Jewish people, and that the Nazis discussed forced relocation first. Chen replied that if a guest on her show tells her they’re “not in favor of genocide,” she would “accept that.”
Chen also said that labeling Spencer a “Nazi” was something she “take[s] issue with” because “we need to distinguish between someone who has racist views that we can still definitely disagree with and an ideology that actually promotes violence.” She also noted that in her interview Spencer “actually disavowed white supremacy.”
Later in her discussion with Chen, Wynn said that it was “dangerous” for Spencer to be given a platform for him to disguise his true motives with euphemisms.
“So again, to me what was dangerous about it is that I think that Richard Spencer has a talent for presenting these ideas in a way that makes them seem like they’re sort of within the realm of what could be reasonably discussed,” Wynn said.
Chen responded by saying that maybe people were surprised that Spencer made his points sound so reasonable because the media had mischaracterized his views.
“It sounds a lot like your problem with the interview was that Richard Spencer came across too well, that he represented his points too reasonably,” she replied. “And, has it occurred to you that maybe he isn’t exactly what the media has been trying to push?”
But the media had not negatively mischaracterized Spencer’s views. If anything, the media downplayed his racism, preferring to focus on how articulate and well-dressed he was.
Months later Spencer and other white supremacists would lead a torch march on UVA and organize a violent white power rally in Virginia. After the event was forcibly dispersed by law enforcement, Spencer uttered those remarks about how he should rule over the “kikes” and “octaroons” of the world.
From start to finish Lauren Chen got almost everything wrong. And the justifications she gave on how she conducted her interview should serve as a master class in how not to converse with white supremacists, especially high-profile, media-savvy ones.