Newsweek apologized Tuesday for publishing a story that praised an assault on white nationalist Richard Spencer, who was punched on video on the day of Donald Trump’s inauguration.
Newsweek published a since-deleted story titled, “The Infinite Joy of Watching a Nazi Get Punched to Music,” by culture editor Joe Veix.
“On a day when many Americans were despairing over what they see as the transition of power to a fascist demagogue, it was a small moment of reprieve. It was possibly the first entertaining day on the internet since the election,” Veix wrote.
The story did not meet the ethics and standards of Newsweek. We regret its publication.
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) January 24, 2017
Spencer, one of the loudest voices in the so-called “alt-right” movement and the head of the white nationalist thinktank the National Policy Institute, was punched in the face during a live interview, and proceeded to use the incident to argue that his critics are violent cowards.
The punch was quickly remixed into a series of memes, many of them set to music.
— The Current Year (@TheeCurrentYear) January 20, 2017
Spencer said in a video he posted on Twitter that as he gave the interview, several people began circling him, including an African-American man who did a “Sieg Heil” salute to mock him. Others asked if he was a Neo-Nazi, which he denied. When a woman asked him if he liked black people, Spencer replied, “Yeah, sure.”
Then a man whose face was disguised suddenly popped into the shot to slug Spencer. “He came out of nowhere and and punched me and he didn’t really land one… it’s not a big deal… it didn’t really land and it didn’t hurt that much,” Spencer said. “This is who these people are. These are these total cowards that we’re dealing with.”
One reason people may have thought Richard Spencer is a Neo-Nazi is that at an alt-right gathering soon after Trump’s election, Spencer led a crowd in calling out, “Hail Trump! Hail our people!” He added, “Hail victory!,” the English translation of “Sieg Heil!”