Tom Metzger (white supremacist)

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Tom Metzger
Born Thomas Linton Metzger
(1938-04-09) April 9, 1938 (age 77)
Indiana, U.S.
Residence Warsaw, Indiana, U.S.
Known for Head of the White Aryan Resistance
Children John Metzger, Lori Metzger

Thomas Linton "Tom" Metzger (born April 9, 1938) is an American white supremacist who founded White Aryan Resistance (WAR), which the Southern Poverty Law Center designated as a hate group. A neo-Nazi who was a Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1970s, Metzger has voiced strong opposition to immigration to the United States. In the early 1980s, he was registered with the Democratic Party and sought to be a Democratic candidate for the United States House of Representatives and Senate. He has been incarcerated in Los Angeles County, California, and in Toronto, Canada, and has been the subject of several lawsuits and government inquiries.

Early life[edit]

Metzger was born and raised in Indiana.[1] He served in the U.S. Army from 1961 until 1964 when he moved to Southern California to work in the electronics industry.[1] For a short time, he was a member of the right-wing group the John Birch Society, and attended anti-Communist luncheon meetings sponsored by the Douglas Aircraft Corporation.[1]

By 1968 Metzger had moved to Fallbrook, California, and supported Democrat-turned-independent George C. Wallace for President.[1] Metzger stopped paying taxes in the 1970s, and by 1972 his tax protest over the Vietnam War had destroyed his thriving television business but introduced him to other tax protesters who, he said, were "secular racists, Christian Identity racists, neo-Nazis, all kinds of people."[1]

Ku Klux Klan[edit]

During the 1970s he joined the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, which was led by David Duke, eventually becoming the Grand Dragon for the State of California. In the summer of 1979, he organized a patrol, the Klan Border Watch[2] to capture illegal Mexican immigrants south of Fallbrook, California.[2] Metzger's Klan organization also had a security force which was involved in confrontations with Communists and anti-Klan protesters.[3][4]

Metzger's branch of the Klan split with Duke's organization in 1980 to form the California Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.[5] 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.[6]

White Aryan Resistance[edit]

Metzger left the Klan after the election and formed the White American Political Association in order to promote "pro-White" candidates for office. In 1983, he changed the name of his group to White Aryan Resistance (WAR).

In 1985 Metzger was invited to attend and speak at a rally of the Nation of Islam. Despite Metzger's open racism towards blacks, the two groups found common ground in their desire for racial separation and in their hate of Jewish people. Metzger donated $100 to the Nation of Islam.[7]

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.[8][verification needed] In November 1988, his son appeared on an episode of the Geraldo show in which a brawl broke out and Geraldo Rivera's nose was broken.[9]

Oregon civil trial[edit]

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".[10] Metzger declared that they did a "civic duty" by killing Seraw.[11] 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.[12][13]

Metzger accepted an option for a new trial judge during the initial stages of the trial and upon hearing the judge's name [Ancer] Haggerty in exchange for the interim appointed judge whom he thought to be a Jewish-named judge only to discover subsequently that Judge Ancer Haggerty was African American.[14]

At the trial, WAR national vice president Dave Mazzella testified how the Metzgers instructed WAR members to commit violence against minorities. Tom and 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 by 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.[15] The Metzgers' house was seized, and most of WAR's profits go to paying off the judgment.

Post-Oregon trial[edit]

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.[16] The Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League came up with the $45,000 needed to pay Metzger for the home.[16] 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.[16] As a result of the sale of his home, he was forced to move into an apartment.[16]

In May 1991, Metzger had to agree to stop selling T-shirts of Bart Simpson in a Nazi uniform with the words "Pure Nazi Dude" and "Total Nazi Dude".[17] He was convicted in 1991 of burning a cross in 1983, and sentenced to six months in prison and 300 hours community service working with minorities.[18] He was released from prison 46 days into his sentence to be with his critically ill wife.[19] In 1992, Metzger and his son 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".[20]

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.[21]

In 2003, Metzger appeared in a documentary by Louis Theroux, titled "Louis and the Nazis".[22][23]

Metzger moved to Warsaw, Indiana. 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.[24][25]

Metzger resides near Warsaw, Indiana,[26] and is still mandated to make payments to Seraw's family.[27] Metzger now hosts an Internet radio talk show.

Mainstream party politics[edit]

Metzger has registered at various times as a Democrat. In 1980, Metzger won the Democratic Party nomination for the U.S. House of Representatives with over 40,000 votes in a San Diego-area district.[28] The local Democratic Party chairman disavowed his candidacy, instead endorsing incumbent four-term Republican Clair Burgener.[29] Metzger lost by over 200,000 votes in November 1980 to a several-term incumbent in a heavily Republican district.

In 1982 he sought the Democratic Party's senatorial nomination, running against then-Governor Jerry Brown and author Gore Vidal, winning almost 76,000 votes (and 2.8% of the vote) in the Democratic Party primary.[citation needed]

In 2010, Metzger took out an advertisement in the Warsaw Times-Union, in order to announce his intention to challenge, as an independent, U.S. Representative Mark Souder, a Republican from Indiana's 3rd congressional district. "I'd go to Washington and get into Congress, and have a fistfight every day," Metzger told local news station WANE-TV in Fort Wayne.[30] Metzger did not make it into the ballot for the election, which was ultimately won by Republican Marlin Stutzman.

Electoral history[edit]

California's 43rd Congressional District Democratic Primary election, June 3, 1980[31]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Tom Metzger 33,071 37.1
Democratic Ed Skagen 32,679 36.6
Democratic Hubert Higgins 23,462 26.3
Total votes 89,212 100.0
Voter turnout  %
United States House of Representatives elections, 1980[32]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Clair W. Burgener (incumbent) 298,815 86.6
Democratic Tom Metzger 46,361 13.4
Total votes 345,176 100.0
Voter turnout  %
Republican hold
United States Senatorial Democratic Primary election, June 8, 1982[33]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Edmund G. "Jerry" Brown, Jr. 1,392,660 50.7
Democratic Gore Vidal 415,366 15.1
Democratic Paul B. Carpenter 415,198 15.1
Democratic Daniel K. Whitehurst 167,574 6.1
Democratic Richard Morgan 94,908 3.4
Democratic Tom Metzger 76,502 2.8
Democratic Walter R. Buchanan 55,727 2.0
Democratic Bob Hampton 37,427 1.4
Democratic Raymond "RayJ" Caplette 31,865 1.2
Democratic William F. Wertz 30,795 1.1
Democratic May Chote 30,743 1.1
Total votes 2,748,765 100.0
Voter turnout  %


  1. ^ a b c d e Turner, Wallace (October 7, 1986). "Extremist Finds Cable TV is Forum for Right-wing Views". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-09-18. 
  2. ^ a b Neiwert, Dave; Robinson, Sara (2005-10-07). "Coddling Extremists". Rights. Seattle: Orcinus. Retrieved 2010-02-02. 
  3. ^ "Anti-Immigration Groups". Intelligence Report. Montgomery, AL: Southern Poverty Law Center. May 2001. Retrieved 2010-02-02. 
  4. ^ Berkowitz, Bill; Dobbs, Lou (2006-07-01). "Dubious Guest List". Rome: Inter-Press Service. Retrieved 2010-02-02. 
  5. ^ "The Real David Duke," Newsweek, November 18, 1991, Pg. 24
  6. ^ "The Godfathers". Southern Poverty Law Center. Fall 2006. Retrieved 2007-11-15. 
  7. ^ Uncommon Ground: Secret Relationship
  8. ^ "Race and Reason Interview with Radio Werewolf". July 8, 1985.  Missing or empty |series= (help)
  9. ^ "Racist Violence". 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-14. 
  10. ^ "Guilt Admitted in Racial Killing". The New York Times. Associated Press. May 3, 1989. Retrieved 2007-11-18. 
  11. ^ "Making War on WAR". Time. October 22, 1990. Retrieved 2007-09-18. 
  12. ^ London, Robb (October 26, 1990). "Sending a $12.5 Million Message to a Hate Group". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-09-18. 
  13. ^ "Lawyer makes racists pay". USA Today. October 24, 1990. p. 02.A. Retrieved 2007-09-18. 
  14. ^ Berry, Jason (March 21, 1993). "The High Price of Hate". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-01-17. 
  15. ^ Goodman, Walter (May 13, 1991). "Review/Television; Behind the Hate, With Bill Moyers". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-08-26. 
  16. ^ a b c d "Metzger Leaves Former Home a Mess, but it's undamaged". The Oregonian. 1991-09-19. pp. F3. 
  17. ^ "Bart Used by Extremists". Washington Times. 1993-05-13. 
  18. ^ "Supremacist Gets 6 Months in Cross Burning". New York Times. 1991-12-04. Retrieved 2007-09-18. 
  19. ^ "Klan leader let out of jail to be with critically ill wife," The Gazette (Montreal, Quebec), February 22, 1992
  20. ^ "White Aryan leaders deported Jewish groups applaud decision," The Globe and Mail July 3, 1992
  21. ^ "Tom Metzger/White Aryan Resistance". Anti-Defamation League. August 24, 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-25. 
  22. ^ "Those ugly Americans". New Zealand Listener. Retrieved 2010-10-04. 
  23. ^ Smith, Rupert (2003-12-22). "Reich and wrong". Guardian (London). Retrieved 2010-10-10. 
  24. ^ ATF raids home of white aryan resistance founder
  25. ^ white supremacist reacts to atf raid
  26. ^ "W.A.R - White Aryan Resistance". The Insurgent. 2007. Retrieved 2008-10-08. 
  27. ^ "Hate-crime case award will be hard to collect, experts say". The Press-Enterprise. August 24, 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-25. 
  28. ^ "Clair Burgener dies at 84". North County Times. September 10, 2006. Retrieved 2007-07-14. 
  29. ^ "Democrats Disavow Nominee From Klan". New York Times. June 6, 1980. 
  30. ^ New York Daily News, "Ex-Klu (sic) Klux Klan leader and white supremacist uses ad to run for Congress," by Michael Sheridan (March 9, 2010 - retrieved on March 10, 2010).
  31. ^ Our Campaigns "California District 43 - Democratic Primary Race - June 3, 1980", (retrieved on August 15, 2009).
  32. ^ Office of the Clerk of the United States House of Representatives "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 4, 1980," (retrieved on August 15th, 2009).
  33. ^ Our Campaigns California U.S. Senate - Democratic Primary Race - June 8, 1982," (retrieved on August 15th, 2009).

Further reading[edit]

  • Morris Dees. Hate on Trial: The Case Against America's Most Dangerous Neo-Nazi. Villard, (February 23, 1993) ISBN 0-679-40614-X (280 pages)
  • Elinor Langer. A Hundred Little Hitlers: The Death of a Black Man, the Trial of a White Racist, and the Rise of the Neo-Nazi Movement in America. New York: Henry Holt, 2003. ISBN 0-8050-5098-1

External links[edit]