- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Richard Spencer and a group of about 100 fellow white nationalists were ejected from a Maryland winery and events venue over the weekend after its owners realized they were unwittingly hosting his National Policy Institute’s annual conference.

The National Policy Institute think tank had initially planned to hold this year’s event at the same venue as last year, the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C., but was forced to find alternative accommodations after its property manager rejected the group’s request earlier this month over security concerns.

A third-party logistics company subsequently arranged for the National Policy Institute to hold its conference roughly 20 miles away at Rocklands Farm in Poolesville by renting space from the venue’s management meant for an unspecified “corporate” gathering to take place from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday, Mr. Spencer, the group’s president, told The Washington Post on Tuesday.

The event started as scheduled but ended roughly four hours earlier than expected after the management became aware of Mr. Spencer’s presence and asked his group to leave at about 4 p.m., he told The Post.

“We didn’t lie, we didn’t deceive and we certainly did not break any rules while we were there,” Mr. Spencer said. “We had sharp words and were obviously disappointed, but there was no confrontation of any kind.”

“I’m not mad, but if I were a business owner, I would not do that,” Mr. Spencer added. “If communists came to my establishment, but they were civilized, I couldn’t imagine kicking them out. So I’m certainly disappointed, but we are not going to retaliate. It’s just life in 2017 for us.”

Rocklands Farm refunded the group’s money and the National Policy Institute relocated elsewhere, The Post reported.

“We are grateful that the group agreed to peacefully leave right away,” the venue said in a statement posted on its website Monday. “Rocklands Farm absolutely does not support or have any affiliation with the National Policy Institute or similar groups,” the venue said, adding its “currently reviewing our event booking policy to ensure any future events reflect the values we try to uphold as we continue to feed, nourish and engage our community.”

The National Policy Institute touts itself as “an independent organization dedicated to the heritage, identity and future of people of European descent in the United States and around the world.” Attendees paid $225 apiece to attend its annual conference and were promised speeches by Daniel Friberg, the European editor of Mr. Spencer’s website, AltRight.com, and Kevin MacDonald, an anti-Semitic academic “who “often displays a distinctly pro-Nazi and anti-Jewish bias,” a British judge previously ruled.

Mr. Spencer, 39, has served as the National Policy Institute’s president and director since 2011. He gained national notoriety last November after audience members reacted to his speech at the NPI’s 2016 conference with Nazi-styled salutes, and he was notably scheduled to speak at the August 12 “Unite the Right” demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia, before the rally was canceled amid violent clashes between participants and counterprotesters. Police ultimately linked the protest to the death of a counter-protester, Heather Heyer, and two state troopers killed in a helicopter crash while monitoring the chaos.

Several public universities have refused to host speaking engagements featuring Mr. Spencer in the wake of his participation in “Unite the Right,” citing safety and security concerns caused by the routine protests that have plagued his appearances and prompted several lawsuits and legal threats.

The University of Michigan’s Board of Regents is scheduled to convene Tuesday evening in order to weigh whether the school should rent space so that Mr. Spencer may host a political event on campus. The school has punted for weeks on deciding to lease space to Mr. Spencer’s booking agent, Cameron Padgett, whose attorney subsequently threatened to sue the university for alleged First Amendment violations if his request isn’t approved by this Friday.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide