Former Neo-Nazi Says He Receives Death Threats After Fleeing Racist Group
A former Neo-Nazi who was associated with the Hammerskin Nation said he continues to receive death threats for leaving the racist group, but vows that he will never go back. TJ Leyden actively recruited members for the group for 15 years by selling white supremacist CD’s and actively promoting their message of violence and hatred towards African-Americans and other minorities.
“I wish I could have those 15 years back,” said Leyden. “The violence aspect didn’t worry me. I didn’t care if they killed me. I didn’t if they buried me. That was just the price I was willing to pay.”
But it was only when Leyden realized that he didn’t want his children to join the white supremacy movement that he knew something had to change. “If I didn’t want my boys to grow up and be me, what was wrong with my premise of my life? What was wrong with who I was?” he said. “I was married to a woman who had two of my children and I was afraid if I told her that, she would tell somebody and I’d get murdered. So I left the racist movement, kidnapped my sons, filed for divorce and legal custody of the kids.”
Eventually, he began speaking about his white supremacist past at local schools and community centers. After his first talk, death threats against Leyden immediately began to surface. “Twenty-four hours later, the white supremacy movement had six websites about me. One website actually said, ‘Terminate on Sight,’” he said. “When I was in the movement, I could have been killed because of rival gangs. Could have been killed by guys inside my own group. It’s no different now. Now I’m just doing something right.”
Now a fierce advocate for universal human dignity, Leyden works alongside people of a variety of races and orientations. He said he could never go back to his racist ways because “the people who should hate me the most, and be angry with me the most because of what I did in my past, embrace me the most.”