Neo-Nazi, black man share hug at white nationalist rally

The poignant moment an African-American man shared an embrace with a neo-Nazi at a white nationalist rally has been caught on camera.

The hug came about during a rally in Gainesville, Florida, in which thousands of protesters demonstrated in response to a scheduled speech by prominent white supremacist Richard Spencer.

The white nationalist at the forefront of the video, Randy Furniss, is already well known to the public on account of an image by Getty photographer Brian Blanco, who captured him getting punched in the face.

Randy Furniss was punched in the face earlier in the rally.
Randy Furniss was punched in the face earlier in the rally. Photo credit: Getty

But one protester went about drowning out the message of racial division in another way - by showering him with affection.

Aaron Courtney, a black high school American football coach, can be seen in footage captured by Twitter user Politics 4 Dummies hugging Mr Furniss and asking, "Why don't you like me, dog?"

Speaking to New York Daily News, Mr Courtney said he was presented with the opportunity to find someone who "hates my guts" and ask him why that was.

"During our conversation, I asked him, 'Why do you hate me? What is it about me? Is it my skin colour? My history? My dreadlocks?'"

Mr Courtney said he felt sure something changed in Mr Furniss' attitude to him during their embrace, which he accepted after an initial struggle.

"I reached over, and the third time, he wrapped his arms around me, and I heard God whisper in my ear, 'You changed his life,'" he said.

"He just needs love. Maybe he never met an African-American like this."

Mr Courtney said upon asking Mr Furniss why he hated him for an umpteenth time, he finally responded: "I don't know."

"I believe that was his sincere answer. He really doesn't know."