Former National Front organizer Kevin Wilshaw came out in a Channel 4 interview that aired Tuesday night, pledging to dedicate his life to fighting the hatred he once espoused.
The 58-year-old joined National Front, a far-right U.K. political party, as a teenager in the 1970s, when the British fascist movement was at its height. By the time he turned 20, Wilshaw became an organizer with the group. Aligned with ethnic nationalism, the Front claims that a Jewish conspiracy has led to the moral decay of society.
Wilshaw told the BBC that the ideals of white supremacy began to appeal to him as early as 11 years old, borrowing the extremist ideologies of his father.
“I think I took it a bit further than him,” the repentant Nazi confessed.
One of the most notorious right-wing figures during the 1980s, Wilshaw claims that his eyes were opened to the brutality of white supremacy after being targeted by the groups he supported for four decades.
“On one or two occasions in the recent past, I’ve actually been the recipient of the very hatred of the people I want to belong to,” Wilshaw claimed. “If you’re gay, it is acceptable in society, but with these groups of people, it’s not acceptable. And I found on one or two occasions when I was suspected of being gay, I was subjected to abuse.”
He said that experiencing bigotry first-hand showed him the impact that neo-Nazi violence has on the LGBTQ community.
“It’s a terribly selfish thing to say but it’s true,” Wilshaw continued. “I saw people being abused, shouted at, spat at in the street, it’s not until it’s directed at you that you suddenly realize that what you’re doing is wrong.”
One of the more fascinating parts of the interview is that the former fascist is not only gay but half-Jewish. But despite his mother’s own religious background, Wilshaw referred to Jews as the “enemies of my race” in his application to join the National Front and claimed that they needed to be wiped out.
A war against the Jews “needs to be waged on a global scale to be effective,” he wrote.
“That term ‘the Jews,’ you’re presenting a global, faceless mass of people, you know,” Wilshawn explained of the cognitive dissonance he exercised as a teenager. “You can’t personalize it. You can’t see an individual there. [T]hat’s the sort of generalization which results in six million people being deliberately murdered.”
In addition, his sister married a Muslim in the 1970s and converted to Islam. They remain close, despite her brother’s politics.
But Wilshaw has vowed to turn over a new leaf.
“I want to do some damage to the people who are propagating this kind of rubbish,” he said. “I want to hurt them, I want to show what it’s like to actually live a lie and be on the receiving end of this sort of propaganda. I want to actually hurt them.”
The former white supremacist was arrested in March after authorities charged him with “online race hate offenses,” according to the BBC. Following his arrest, Wilshaw was sent to a deradicalization program in the U.K. He has previously jailed for vandalizing an Aylesbury mosque in the 1990s.