'Love will conquer hate': Black men embrace white nationalist at centre of anti-Nazi protest
Published Monday, October 23, 2017 11:35AM EDT
A black man hugged a swastika-wearing white nationalist amid a swarm of anti-Nazi protesters, and another black man allegedly helped him escape a beating outside a controversial far-right rally at the University of Florida.
With his shaved head and swastika-adorned shirt, self-described skinhead Randy Furniss was an easy target for those protesting outside a rally held by white nationalist Richard Spencer. The protesters encircled Furniss, waving signs and chanting “Nazi scum” at him as he pressed through the crowd. A few even stepped forward to hit or shove him, and one video shows him being punched.
But, while others condemned Furniss as a monster, one black man stepped forward and tried to address him as a person. The man can be seen repeatedly wrapping his arms around Furniss and pulling him in close for a hug.
“Give me a f---ing hug,” he tells Furniss, in a brief video posted on social media. “Why don’t you like me, dog? What is it?”
Another photo posed online shows Furniss standing with black protester Julius Long, who apparently helped him get away from the angry crowd. Both men are smiling in the photo, and Long has his arm on Furniss’ shoulder.
Long’s father says his son attended the rally in hopes of speaking to Spencer “about his views on hate.”
“While at the event, he befriended a Nazi sympathizer from Idaho who was being beaten, spit on and treated really bad by protesters,” Long’s father, Rodney, wrote on Facebook. “He escorted the guy to safety and talked with him for over an hour. He eventually gave him a ride to his car and exchanged contact information.”
Long’s post has been shared more than 24,000 times.
“This strange encounter proves that when we talk with each other we can better understand each other, and one day love will conquer hate,” he wrote.