After 16 months and 25 agonizing surgeries, a former racist skinhead’s face is free of the tattoos that linked him to his white supremacist past.
“I didn’t hate anybody,” Bryon Widner recalled to The Associated Press. “I hated myself so I just kind of projected it outward.”
“I got convinced that the Jews were at fault for all my woes and, you know, the black man has been keeping me down. This and that. When all in all, it’s because I was a screw up.”
Widner contacted the Southern Poverty Law Center and they arranged for an anonymous donor to pay for his surgeries.
“It was like the Osama Bin Laden of the movement calling in,” SPLC chief investigator Joseph Roy explained. “Very rarely have we met a reformed racist skinhead.”
“I wanted to get out, but I didn’t know how,” Widner said. “I didn’t think there was a way out besides prison or death. I thought those were the only two out programs. And it’s been absolute hell. When I first got out, we immediately started getting death threats and calling up at three o’clock in the morning. And this went of for a couple years straight.”
Watch this video from The Associated Press, broadcast Oct. 31, 2011.