A former neo-Nazi leader has given up his far-right views calling racism ‘rubbish’ while also revealing he’s gay as well as having Jewish heritage.
Kevin Wilshaw first joined the National Front when he was just 18-years-old and quickly became a high-profile figure within the movement, speaking at right-wing events as recently as this year.
Speaking to Channel 4 News, Kevin explained he joined the movement as he wanted to feel a part of something.
I thought getting involved with that sort of thing would be like comradeship.
You got one thing in common, you’ve got the same belief system, same enemy as well and it does unify you.
His father was also right-wing, but Kevin admits he took his beliefs further, being attracted to neo-Nazism from the age of 11.
Although his father was right-wing, Kevin’s mother was actually part-Jewish, something he admitted in his application form for the World Union Of National Socialists, announcing he wanted to join the fight against his own race, ‘the Jews’.
That term, ‘the Jews’, is representing a faceless global mass of people.
You can’t personalise it and that sort of generalisation results in millions of people being murdered.
Kevin also claimed he never attacked people unprovoked, instead using his violent actions as a form of defence – he once smashed a chair over a man’s head at a by-election in Leeds.
Although he knew unprovoked violence did happen within the movement, Kevin remained ignorant of it.
I have seen instances where people have been singled out. It turns my stomach.
I rejected that. Pushed it to the back of my mind. I think I rejected it as I wanted to belong.
In his later years Kevin joined the BNP and was arrested for vandalising a mosque in the early nineties – he was also arrested this year for online race hate offences.
All the while Kevin had a secret, one he’s only recently revealed.
On one or two occasions in the recent past I’ve been the recipient of hatred from the very people I wanted to belong to.
If you’re gay, it’s acceptable in normal society but not within this group of people.
On the occasions I’ve been suspected as being gay, I’ve been subjected to abuse.
You can watch Kevin reveal his secrets below:
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Being a gay neo-Nazi with Jewish heritage is quite the contradiction and this is something Kevin said he realised, adding:
It’s a terribly selfish thing to say, but I saw people abused, shouted at in the street, but until it’s directed at you, you don’t realise what you’re doing is wrong.
Their whole relationship with me and acceptance of me was false.
This is the strange thing, it’s always been part of the narrative of the movement but it’s been contradicted by the fact that you had people like Martin Webster, leader of the National Front, who was overtly gay. No one could see the contradictions. It doesn’t make sense?
As well as coming out in the Channel 4 interview, Kevin also reached out to anti-fascist group Hope Not Hate with a ‘cry for help’.
Kevin spoke about why he’s decided to come out saying:
I feel appallingly guilty. This is also a barrier between me having a relationship with my own family and I want to get rid of it.
I want to do some damage to the people who are propagating this rubbish. 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.
Some will see it as betrayal. See the thing is that there are some good people in this organisation, but also people in it who are absolute scumbags.
I am going to find it difficult to fill a void that has occupied my life since I was a child.
I’m glad to see Kevin putting his past behind him!
Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.