Brewery’s Plan To Foil Richard Spencer Ticket Distribution Goes Flat

Gainesville brewer Alligator Brewing had come up with what seemed like a win-win plan so that white supremacist Richard Spencer ended up speaking to an empty venue at the University of Florida on Oct. 19, by offering to trade students a free beer in exchange for two tickets, which would be disposed of.

Spencer, the president of white supremacist think tank National Policy Institute, apparently saw the brewery’s Facebook post detailing the ticket exchange and NPI decided to distribute the free tickets in person at the Oct. 19 event, rather than the university disbursing tickets, according to the MiamiHerald.   

“We’re going to have a system in place to combat that,” Spencer said, according to the newspaper.

Speech organizers reportedly planned on giving out tickets just an hour and a half before the 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. event, according to USA Today, which reported that “only people who look like alt-right supporters will be among the 700 people allowed inside the

– #lesshatemorebeer
Alligator Brewing attempted to trade students free beer in exchange for tickets to see Richard Spencer speak at the University of Florida.

University of Florida posted a Q&A on its website in regards to Spencer’s speaking event at the university’s Philips Center to address concerns about safety and questions about why the speech was taking place at all. The university explained that while “UF has been clear and consistent in its denunciation of all hate speech and racism and in particular of the racist speech and white nationalistic values of Richard Spencer,” the university agreed to the think tank’s rental request because “as a state entity UF must allowed the free expression of speech.”

The university had denied Spencer’s original request to rent a facility on Sept. 12, citing “the violence in Charlottesville and after imminent threats targeting Gainesville and UF.” Postponing Spencer’s event until October gave the university time to make additional security arrangements.

NPI is paying $10,564 to rent the Philips Center for the Performing Arts Oct. 19 and for security within the venue. The university and other agencies are paying more than $500,000 to cover enhanced security on campus and in the city of Gainesville.  The university’s site point out that “this includes costs from the University of Florida Police Department, Gainesville Police Department, Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Florida Highway Patrol and other agencies providing first responders.”

Florida Governor Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency for Alachua County with an executive order that explains that “prior speaking engagements involving Mr. Spencer at universities in Alabama, California, Texas, and Virginia have sparked protests and counter-protests resulting in episodes of violence, civil unrest, and multiple arrests.”

The order adds that Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell has requested the assistance of the State of Florida, through this Executive Order, to implement a coordinated approach for planning, managing and implementing law enforcement responses and support services, including specialty teams and resources that would otherwise be unavailable.”

Alligator Brewery posted on Facebook Oct. 18 that after Spencer event organizer Cameron Padgett stopped by the brewery that day to attempt to trade in tickets he began “live tweeting video and his friendly demeanor changed from naive and friendly to aggressive and concerning. … Please everyone use caution and be safe. A non-violent approach may still be met with aggressiveness.”

The brewery added a follow-up Facebook post on Oct. 19 explaining that there was no way to validate the authenticity of event Spencer event ticket because NPI was the sole distributor of tickets.

“We have experienced support both here locally and on an international scale. We will continue to support our wonderful, loving community in any way possible. #lesshatemorebeer”