Richard Spencer Has ‘A Face In Need Of A Slap’ by the Forward

Richard Spencer Has ‘A Face In Need Of A Slap’

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Richard Spencer was a racist, grandstanding, insufferable classmate — but an impeccable German speaker — wrote one woman who spent a summer studying the language with him in Berlin.

Julie Hill, a New Zealander, was one of a number of classmates who grew to find the future “alt-right” leader’s xenophobia so off-putting that they boycotted his speech about Nietzschean philosophy on the last day of class.

“There is a German word that applies well to Spencer: Backpfeifengesicht,” wrote Hill. “It means ‘a face that is crying out for a slap.’”

Hill describes how Spencer initially endeared himself by helping her master complex German tenses — before blowing it by railing against Mexican immigrants. In Hill’s telling, Spencer lost the respect of the entire class (and the teacher) when he suggested that the white lacrosse players accused in 2006 of gang-raping a stripper were innocent because they would not want to have sex with a black woman.

“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,” wrote Hill.

Contact Ari Feldman at or on Twitter @aefeldman.


Ari Feldman

Ari Feldman

Ari Feldman is a staff writer at the Forward. He covers Jewish religious organizations, synagogue life, anti-Semitism and the Orthodox world. If you have any tips, you can email him at Follow him on Twitter @aefeldman.

Richard Spencer’s German Classmate Was His Brief BFF

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Richard Spencer Has ‘A Face In Need Of A Slap’

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