|“||They call me a right-winger, which is an insult - I'm simply a racist and a separatist.||„|
|~ Tom Metzger.|
Thomas Linton "Tom" Metzger (April 9, 1938 – November 4, 2020) was an American white supremacist. A leading member of the White Power Skinheads movement, he was a Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan as well as the founder and leader of the White Aryan Resistance. He was also a minister in the Christian Identity movement.
During the 1970s he joined the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, which was led by David Duke, and he eventually became the Grand Dragon for the State of California. In the summer of 1979, he organized a patrol, the Klan Border Watch, to capture illegal Mexican immigrants south of Fallbrook, California. Metzger's Klan organization also had a security force which was involved in confrontations with Communists and anti-Klan protesters.
Metzger's branch of the Klan split with Duke's organization in 1980 to form the California Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. Also in 1979, he took Greg Withrow of the White Student Union "under his wing", which later became the Aryan Youth Movement (AYM), for youth associated with White Aryan Resistance.
In 1985, Metzger attended a Nation of Islam rally in San Diego, led by Louis Farrakhan. During the rally, he compared America to a “rotting carcass” and praised Farrakhan for “understanding” that Jews are “living off the carcass” and called them “parasites”. Despite Metzger's open racism towards blacks, the two groups found common ground based on their desire for racial separation and their hatred of Jewish people. Metzger donated $100 to the Nation of Islam.
Metzger made numerous television appearances in addition to hosting his own cable TV public-access television show, Race and Reason. In one of his first cable episodes, Metzger invited the gothic rock band Radio Werewolf onto the show, during which a confused Metzger was given an honorary membership in the band. In November 1988, his son John appeared on an episode of the Geraldo show in which a brawl broke out and Geraldo Rivera's nose was broken. Metzger also appeared on the Wally George Hot Seat show with the head of the Jewish Defense League Irv Rubin in what was a very contentious debate. The debate ended when Rubin threw water in the face of Metzger. Security intervened and the Anaheim Police were called. The debate was considered unusual for George's program who typically brought in liberal guests that argued with Wally. Since both guests were extreme, George essentially served as a moderator. Wally despised the racist nationalism by Metzger even though Metzger of the two was the obvious right wing guest.
The group was eventually bankrupted as the result of a civil lawsuit centered on its involvement in the 1988 murder of Mulugeta Seraw, an Ethiopian man who had moved to the United States to attend college. In 1988, white power skinheads affiliated with WAR were convicted of killing Seraw and sent to prison. Kenneth Mieske said he and the two others killed Seraw "because of his race". Metzger declared that they did a "civic duty" by killing Seraw. Morris Dees and the Southern Poverty Law Center filed a civil suit against him, arguing that WAR influenced Seraw's killers by encouraging their group East Side White Pride to commit violence.
Metzger's decision to represent himself at his trial became the source of considerable civic derision through the legal incompetence which he displayed — never more so than when he accepted an option for a new trial judge during the initial stages of the trial in place of the interim appointed judge whom he thought was Jewish; only after he had made his decision did he discover that the new judge, Ancer L. Haggerty, was African American.
At the trial, WAR national vice president Dave Mazzella testified about how the Metzgers instructed WAR members to commit violence against minorities. Tom and his son John Metzger were found civilly liable under the doctrine of vicarious liability, in which one can be liable for a tort committed by a subordinate or another person who is taking instructions. The jury returned the largest civil verdict in Oregon history at the time—$12.5 million—against Metzger and WAR. The Metzgers' house was seized, and most of WAR's profits go to paying off the judgment.
After the trial, Metzger's home was transferred to Seraw's estate for $121,500, while Metzger was allowed to keep $45,000 under California's Homestead Act. The Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League came up with the $45,000 needed to pay Metzger for the home. Metzger was warned that any damages left in the house would result in a lawsuit, and while he left it in "a mess" with cracked windows, there was no serious damage. As a result of the sale of his home, he was forced to move into an apartment.
In May 1991, Metzger agreed to stop selling T-shirts of Bart Simpson in a Nazi uniform with the words "Pure Nazi Dude" and "Total Nazi Dude". In 1991 he was convicted of burning a cross in 1983, and sentenced to six months in prison and 300 hours of community service by working with minorities. He was released from prison 46 days into his sentence so he could be with his critically ill wife. In 1992, Metzger and his son John violated a court order not to leave the country and entered Canada to speak to the Heritage Front. Soon afterwards, he was arrested for violating Canadian immigration laws by entering the country to "promote racial hatred".
Since the early 1990s, Metzger has advocated the "lone wolf" method of organization, of which there are many, for white nationalist groups, which states that a person should not outwardly display his/her racist ideology, but must act covertly.
In 2003, Metzger appeared in Louis and the Nazis, a documentary hosted by Louis Theroux. During this documentary, Theroux criticised Metzger both for his use of racist language and his evidently hypocritical behaviour. On one hand, Metzger was portraying himself as a man totally devoted to his racist viewpoints, who purportedly wanted nothing to do with members of other ethnic groups. On the other hand, Metzger was seemingly enjoying the fruits of multiculturalism as he was filmed singing in a largely non-white karaoke bar and he also went on a day trip to Mexico during the documentary. During the karaoke bar visit, Theroux commented that " It had been a long, and in some ways, depressing day. I'd found Tom's attitudes exhausting and I was still more confused when the karaoke bar he took me to turned out to be largely non-white. I could only assume that, for Tom, karaoke sometimes took precedence over racism."
Metzger moved to Warsaw, Indiana at some point in the mid-2000s; as recently as 2004, he was the subject in an online article from a San Diego-based periodical that outlined his love of karaoke, sparse white activist action, and bemused feelings over the state of his hoped-for white revolution. On June 2, 2009, agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms raided Metzger's home. No arrests were made and no information was released on what was found inside his house. Metzger was allowed to leave the premises during the search and stated that address books, compact discs, tapes and computers were seized in the raid.
Metzger passed away at age 82 on November 4, 2020 while living in a nursing home. He had been suffering from Parkinson's Disease for quite some time.