When I was a teenager in NYC in the 1980s, I became involved with the right-wing skinhead scene within the hard punk subculture. I am deeply ashamed by this, and I made the decision decades ago to disassociate myself from far-right politics and fully disavow the bigoted and dehumanizing ideologies they represent.
Even though it was the pre-internet age, there are plenty of records of who I was then, including photos and videos. Recently, records of me from that time — photos, video, and text — surfaced on an online messageboard, and some members of that community are circulating them to the media. The material connects me to the hateful and poorly informed beliefs that I held as a teenager, but which now I find morally reprehensible and completely disavow.
I was a British kid who wound up falling in with a group of white-pride American nationalists, and while I was part of this group I believed the hateful things that they believed, and helped spread the message. I was the lead singer of a popular hardcore band and fed off — and indeed contributed to — the darker impulses of the scene.
I'm ashamed by what these materials reveal about my past, but I'm proud to state clearly and unequivocally that I condemn racism, intolerance, and bigotry. I could not work for a company like Vox Media, which strives for a culture of diversity and inclusion, or write about the joyous world of food in New York, if my views were not diametrically opposed to those I held back then.
I am sorry to the people who were the target of my hateful speech then, and its equivalents and legacy today. I am sorry to those that I have hurt — particularly my colleagues at Eater and Vox Media — for putting you in a position to have to confront my shameful past. I've spent the past three decades trying to correct for my past beliefs and actions, and I will continue to do that.