Tripti Joshi

Erasing Hate

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Country  United States
Director  Bill Brummel
Erasing Hate httpswwwsplcenterorgsitesdefaultfilesd6l
Release date  June 6, 2011 (2011-06-06)

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Erasing Hate is a 2011 American TV documentary chronicling the efforts of reformed white power skinhead Bryon Widner to remove his numerous racist facial tattoos. Written, produced, and directed by Bill Brummel, it first aired on June 6, 2011 on MSNBC.


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Erasing Hate Erasing Hate Heartland Film

Bryon Widner became a skinhead at the age of 14, and he spent 16 years involved with racist organizations in the midwestern United States. Described as a "pit bull", Widner co-founded Vinlanders Social Club, a white power group in Indiana that soon gained a reputation for excessive violence. This organization became one of the fastest-growing racist skinhead organizations in the US.

In 2005, Widner married Julie Larsen, who had three children from a previous marriage. In 2006, the couple had a son. The responsibilities of fatherhood gave Widner the desire to reform and leave the racist movement, a desire shared by Larsen. Widner left his organization and endured years of death threats and harassment while attempting to turn his life around. Widner's efforts to rejoin wider society were significantly hampered by his extensive facial tattoos, many of which were violent or racist. Larsen feared that Widner would take drastic action to remove the tattoos, such as immersing his face in acid. Larsen eventually contacted an anti-racist activist, who put her in contact with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

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After "several weeks of conversation," SPLC representatives agreed to help Widner in his quest to remove his facial tattoos. They found a plastic surgeon who was willing to perform the procedure, and an anonymous donor provided $35,000 for the procedures. The complete removal of Widner's facial tattoos took two years and over a dozen individual procedures, all of which were excruciatingly painful.

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