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Mazzella & Barrett (Dave & Mike)
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Racist
    (Former) Skinheads
    Former White Aryan Resistance (WAR) members
    Ex-members of a street group affiliated with WAR, the East Side White Pride gang
    Affiliated with infamous white supremacist, WAR leader, and former KKK Grand Dragon, Tom Metzger
    Dave Mazzella, vice-president of the Aryan Youth Movement, served as a recruiter for the White Youth movement
    Mike Barrett, gang-leader of the Southern California-based hate group, 'the War Skins'
    Caused a scene on The Oprah Winfrey Show while participating in a televised six-person panel to discuss the white supremacist 'skinhead' movement, which included Tom Metzger's son, Aryan Youth president John Metzger (Feb. 4, 1988)
    Within a year of the taping were sent to federal prison on separate charges (Mike, defacing a synagogue; Dave, assault and accessory in the murder of a Portland-based Ethiopian student)
    Returned to the Oprah Winfrey Show in its last season to formally apologize to Oprah for their disruptive behavior on-air (May 13, 2011)
    Mike claimed to have become a skinhead at the age of nine.
    They were so closely tied to Tom Metzner that Mazzella even had him preside over his wedding.
    They identified as Metzger's 'spokesmen,' charged with distributing racist neo-Nazi literature (including one particularly tasteless bulletin, with the image of a microwave oven headlined with the caption 'JEW DWARFS - there is an oven in YOUR future!')
    They were allegedly brought onto the Oprah Show with the intention of proving their ignorance. Instead, their nonchalant, unflinching defense of their racist beliefs as nothing other than 'normal' visibly frustrated the host.
    Their infamous segment is better known contemporarily as the show where Oprah was confronted by an audience member, Marty Cox, who repeatedly referred to her as 'a monkey.'
    When that particularly confrontational skin-head was forcibly removed from the audience during the commercial break, the Aryan Youth panelists walked off the stage (among them Mazzella and Barrett).
    On return from the commercial break, she discussed the skin heads after their departure, saying ' I have to agree with this woman down here who said I have never seen or felt such evil-ness, or such hatred, in all of my life.'
    They were allegedly expelled from the White Aryan Resistance movement over drug abuse issues, according to Tom Metzger.
    They later appeared on a local Portland talk show trying to disavow their movement's involvement in a racial hate crime. They were soon after picked up by the police, who viewed the taping and discovered outstanding California arrest warrants for the both of them (Nov. 13, 1988).
    Many openly doubted the sincerity of their apologies to Oprah (coming only after she had achieved global icon status, and when it had become unacceptable to be openly racist).
    They were probably just misguided kids whose vulnerability was exploited.
    For instance, Mazzella's father left him and his mother when he was a teenager (he was also abused by his stepfather).
    They apologized to Oprah for being rude and disruptive, but if anything the most obnoxious and openly hateful was Tom Metzger's spoiled brat son, who dismissed references to Hitler and the Holocaust as 'buzz words' (and who was conspicuously absent from the 2011 reunion episode).
    By contrast the two came off as legitimately trying to rationalize their actions as warranted and only when necessary (basically in a state of willed denial).
    While doing time in prison, Barrett was assigned to an cell block entirely made up of black inmates, including the guards.
    Barrett marked this as his life's defining moment, primarily because the black inmates treated him humanely and compassionately despite knowing full well that he was a radical white supremacist.
    They were sent into hiding after informing on several key members of the Aryan movement, who openly threatened 'the squealers.'
    Most famously, Dave Mazzella's 1991 testimony against Tom Metzger and his son helped to convict them of vicarious culpability in the 1988 slaying of Mulugeta Seraw, resulting in a $12.5 Million fine against the Metzgers and WAR (the largest civil verdict in Oregon, up until that point).
    Their apologies came off as genuine and real, with Barrett even tearing up recalling their behavior.
    The problems associated with the 'skinhead' episode taping forever prevented the Oprah Show from devolving into a Geraldo/Donahue trash TV knock-off (they never attempted a gimmicky ratings-boost stunt like that again).
    They are proof that redemption, remission, and forgiveness are not only real, but universal.

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair


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