UK neo-Nazi leader quits movement, reveals he is gay and Jewish

Published 18.10.2017 15:59
Updated 18.10.2017 16:04

A lifelong British far-right activist has quit the murky world of racist politics after revealing his is gay and has Jewish heritage.

Speaking to Channel 4 News, neo-Nazi and former National Front organizer Kevin Wilshaw, 58, admitted to acts of violence and racism.

Wilshaw said he was drawn to the far-right from the age of 11 and was involved in various racist acts, including vandalizing a mosque.

He described his early family life under a military father who doled out physical punishment and a mother who was from a Jewish background.

It was in the Britain's shadowy extreme right where Wilshaw said he found the comradeship he had been seeking.

He said he quit the far-right after decades of involvement when he received abuse from fellow activists who suspected he was gay. He also told Channel 4 he feared reprisals for his "betrayal".

Wilshaw said: "I've led a lie. A terrible lie. You can't be a gay, Jewish Nazi. You can't be either of those things, and yet I have been."

"It's a terribly selfish thing to say but it's true, 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."

Despite the fact his mother was Jewish, he admitted that he wrote about his hatred of "the Jews" on his National Front application form.

In the interview, Wilshaw is seen showing some Nazi artifacts he held, including a swastika flag and a bust of Adolf Hitler.

Explaining his reasons for giving the interview, he said: "I want to do some damage as well, not to ordinary people but the people who are propagating this kind of rubbish -- want to hurt them, show what it's like for those who are living a lie and be on the receiving end of this type of propaganda."

Wilshaw's interview comes as official data showed hate crime in the U.K. has surged, with a record 80,393 offences recorded in 12 months to March 2017, according to Home Office figures released Tuesday.

Latest data show an increase of 29 percent, from 62,518 in the 2015/2016 period -- the largest increase since police started registering hate crimes five years ago.

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