Former skinhead endures 25 surgeries to remove hate tattoos

By David Edwards
Monday, October 31, 2011 17:19 EDT
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Former skinhead Bryon Widner
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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.

Watch this video on iPhone/iPad

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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