WARREN, Mich. (WJBK) - Richard Spencer is a controversial figure, considered a spokesman for the "alt-right" movement in the U.S. He's bringing his message to Michigan State University Monday, despite protests.
Spencer and his group, known as the Foundation for the Marketplace of Ideas, have been in the metro area all weekend ahead of Monday's speech. Two different gatherings were planned with them as a sort of meet and greet -- but were then abruptly canceled when the venues found out about the group's politics.
First, the Carpathia Club got word Saturday that the seemingly friendly meet-and-greet at their German Cultural Club in Sterling Heights was likely playing host to Spencer and about 100 of his alt -right crew.
"A Sterling Heights police officer came in about 11 p.m. [Saturday] night and they informed me they were tipped off there was going to be a neo nazi rally in our hall the next night," says manager Carsten Grotloh. The event was canceled.
He says he doesn’t do background checks or check folks out on Facebook, so that’s how the event got booked until they were tipped off.
"It's just nothing we want to have affiliated with us," he added.
An event at Tipsy McStaggers, a bar in Warren, has also reportedly been canceled.
Meanwhile, protesters from all over have made their way to Michigan ahead of Spencer's speech on Monday.
Sunday evening, in Warren near Hoover and I-696, a group of protestors got wind Spencer might be staying in a nearby hotel and gathered in the area. The hotel couldn't confirm to FOX 2 if Spencer was at that hotel or not.
“People have come in a caravan all the way up from Tennessee. We’ve got Great Lakes Antifa; we've got people from Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, as far south of Florida here today," says protester Derrick Meyers. "People were caravanning in from other states and the reason that is to just show solitary.”
Warren Mayor James Fouts said besides the police, who were there monitoring the protestors, the FBI was also apparently also there monitoring the situation.
Spencer coined the term alt-right, which is short for alternative right, which loosely encompasses white nationalist and often anti-Semitic sentiment.
Spencer is planned to speak at MSU at 4:30 p.m. Monday. Students are on spring break so it's not know what the turnout will be like. Lots of media and protesters are expected, though.