Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer was confronted at a book signing in Middletown, Rhode Island, on Friday by a man who claimed Spicer used a racial epithet against him during their time in prep school.
While signing books at a Barnes and Noble bookstore, a man standing in line, identified as Alex Lombard, called out Spicer's name from across the store, according to the Newport Daily News. Lombard, who is black, yelled that he attended the same prep school as Spicer, Portsmouth Abbey.
"Hey. Yeah. How are you?" Spicer replied, according to the Associated Press.
That's when Lombard accused Spicer of calling him the N-word before trying to fight him when they were teenagers.
"Don’t you remember? You don’t remember that you tried to fight me? But you called me a [N-word] first," Lombard accused.
As Lombard continued to cause a scene, members of Spicer's security detail ushered him away, according to the Newport Daily News. Spicer had six security guards at the book signing. But Lombard didn't go away quietly.
"I was 14 then. I was a scared kid then, Sean. I’m not scared to fight you now," he screamed as others waiting in line shouted him down.
The Newport Daily News caught Lombard's comments on camera. However, they did not capture Spicer's reaction. Spicer graduated from Portsmouth Abby in 1989, while Lombard is reportedly a member of the school's Class of 1990.
What did Spicer later say?
A publicist for Regnery Publishing told the AP Spicer was "taken aback" by Lombard's "outrageous claims" and explained Spicer has no recollection of the events Lombard alleged. The publicist said Spicer was "not sure if this was just a stunt this man was pulling."
The representative also noted that it was "a very odd time" for such accusations to surface given Spicer's high-profile image over the last several years.