Samantha: It's just really weird, like, this is the worst thing I've ever done in my life. And despite the guilt and everything, I almost feel like I'm getting away with something.
Glenna Gordon: I wasn't sitting down with someone thinking that they were on the brink of leaving. Like, I wasn't going to cut her any breaks. Not after Charlottesville.
White Supremacist Protestors, University of Virginia August 2017: You will not replace us. You will not replace us.
Andrew Morantz: When she came out of the woodwork like this. No, I didn't trust her and I figured maybe someone was putting her up to it. Or, maybe she was whitewashing her story. Maybe she wasn't telling me the full truth.
Geraldine Moriba: * Sounds Like Hate* is a new podcast series from the Southern Poverty Law Center. I'm Geraldine Moriba.
Jamila Paksima: And I'm Jamila Paksima. This first season is about how some people become extremists, and how some of them disengage from a life of hate.
Geraldine Moriba: * Getting Out* is a story in two parts. It's about a woman named Samantha. She was a white supremacist who worked behind the scenes at the 'Unite the Right' rally in August 2017.
Samantha: I would say that was my highest point, my most intense point in terms of my desire to be involved in the movement.
Geraldine Moriba: Before we share Samantha's story, we're taking you back to Charlottesville, Virginia, with photojournalist Glenna Gordon.
Glenna Gordon: I remember at one point my editor called me to find out what was happening.
White Supremacist, Charlottesville, Virginia, August 2017: We're honoring all of the great white men who are being smeared and defamed and torn down.
Glenna Gordon: This is chaos. I don't think people realized how bad it was yet.
Geraldine Moriba: Gordon was in Charlottesville on assignment for New Yorker magazine. She was working on a story about women in the far right.
Glenna Gordon: I am not a news photographer, so I'm not trying to get like the most violent, gory shot. I'm not trying to get up in there where people were beating each other up. I had, like, a really different purpose, which was again, looking for women who were participating in this and trying to do portraits. So, I'm sitting on the outskirts of violence, but, like, I'm ducking and dodging tear gas and out there with everybody else.
Witness, Charlottesville, Virginia, August 2017: That Nazi just drove into people. Oh my god. Oh my god. Oh my god. People are badly hurt. Go. Go. Go.
Glenna Gordon: Yeah, and then I went to this awful party. All of the sudden you, like, hear Richard Spencer screaming maniacally about how he rules this world and he's gonna kill all the Jews and kill all the [expletive].
Richard Spencer: I am coming back here every [expletive] weekend if I have to. That's how the world [expletive] works. No [expletive] [expletive]. They get ruled by people like me. No [expletive] octoroons. I [expletive]?? My ancestors [expletive] enslaved those pieces of shit. I rule the [expletive] world.
Glenna Gordon: That was Saturday night.
Geraldine Moriba: That racist is Richard Spencer. He's the president of the National Policy Institute, a white supremacist group. He takes credit for creating the term 'alt-right.' These are far-right ideologies feeding a fear white Americans are under attack by multicultural forces. Spencer introduced Gordon to Samantha.
Glenna Gordon: I'm meeting with Samantha in Leesburg on… Today is Tuesday, right? It's Tuesday.
Geraldine Moriba: At the time, Samantha was the 27-year-old women's leader of a group called Identity Evropa.
Samantha: Richard had texted me and said, you know, there's this photographer named Glenna Gordon; Do you think you could pull this off? And it was kind of this test.
Geraldine Moriba: Sitting in a cafe Samantha did her best to convey the talking points of the alt-right.
Samantha: You have these kids that went to this rally and all they wanted to do was demonstrate peacefully and literally the entire world is blaming them for murder, for
racism, for all of these things that have been going on long before these people were alive.
Glenna Gordon : But that doesn't change the fact that the person who did kill somebody came from a far right group.
Samantha: I think that until all of that has been proven, until his trial is done, it's not fair to speculate. You don't know what was going on in their mind.
Geraldine Moriba: James Fields is the white supremacist Samantha is talking about here. He's the man who drove his car into a crowd killing Heather Heyer. He was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. But back then, two days after the rally, Samantha defended him.
Samantha: I don't know if anyone can really put themselves in his shoes and say, 'If I were at a dangerous rally and I had adrenaline rushing and all this stuff I would've known at that moment to do something differently'.
Glenna Gordon: I mean there were maybe a thousand people there who did make a different choice.
Samantha: It happens. Life happens.
Geraldine Moriba: When we met Samantha at a secret location she seemed anxious. Over the eight hours we spoke she never really relaxed.
Geraldine Moriba: Can we start with that?
Geraldine Moriba: Exactly how you're feeling right now.
Geraldine Moriba: Samantha asked to only be identified by her first name.
Samantha: Until my last breath, I'm just gonna have to keep accepting the fact that I'm a bad person, regardless of what I do.
Geraldine Moriba: She joined Identity Evropa trying to save her relationship with a boyfriend.
Samantha: When I first applied with Identity Evropa, it was Christmas Eve 2016. I got an email response back, like, two or three days later and then, New Year's Eve 2016, going into '17, I was a member of Identity Evropa. Took me a week. It was a community where
people slept with each other and dated. It had its own gossip and its own, like, self-referential cannon.
Geraldine Moriba: In two months, she became the women's coordinator. Her job was recruiting other women.
Samantha: I mean, the alt-right was absolutely like a social hub for people.
Geraldine Moriba: Is the sense of belonging the motivation for joining?
Samantha: I think so. I think people miss human interaction and miss that physical engagement with other people. And the alt-right provided that.
Cassie Miller: Identity Evropa is a white-nationalist group and it predominantly recruits college-aged men.
Geraldine Moriba: Cassie Miller has a PhD in American history. She's a senior research analyst with the Southern Poverty Law Center. She says Identity Evropa is part of the alt-right. Founded in 2016, they obsess over the protection of their white identity.
Cassie Miller: They're kind of part of the white-nationalist movement that wants to gain some respectability.
Geraldine Moriba: Ultimately, the goal is to create a separate white ethno-state. To achieve this without detection they mask their mission beneath misinformation, euphemisms, and popular culture.
Cassie Miller: So, that means, you know, everything from wearing a suit and tie when you're out in public to changing your language so that your beliefs appear all the more respectable.
Geraldine Moriba: And that's the point. This clean-cut exterior makes it easier to attract new members.
Cassie Miller: And in this case, what it means is that they really want to bend the Republican Party and conservatives more towards white nationalist ends.
Geraldine Moriba: Is the veneer of respectability really enough to gain supporters?
Cassie Miller: I mean, it appears to be. This is a group that has worked very, very hard to workshop its image. You know, everything from calling themselves Identitarians to their logos to their ascetics. What they're trying to tell people is that in order to have a sense of belonging you must have a racially homogenous group. The way to create
social disintegration, to create social problems, to create political problems is diversity. They see it as the root of, sort of, every political ill in this moment. And so what they offer people like Samantha is a chance to kind of cure all of those things by building a racially exclusive community.
Geraldine Moriba: At its peak, how many members did Identity Evropa have?
Cassie Miller: Well, we know that they had probably around 900 members at their peak.
Geraldine Moriba: In the grand scheme, 900 members is actually quite small. This is not a big organization.
Cassie Miller: I would argue that it's a pretty big organization, especially if you're looking at white-nationalist groups in general; 900 is a pretty huge number.
Jamila Paksima: Geraldine, there seems to be many alt-right groups with a parsing of ideologies. There's racial separatism, antisemitism, anti-feminism, anti-government, anti-immigration, and so on.
Geraldine Moriba: Absolutely. There are many claims to the alt-right, but they all share one common goal -- the protection of white privilege and the power that comes with it.
Samantha : There are a lot of phrases that are tossed around in the alt-right: G.T. K.
Geraldine Moriba: What are those?
Samantha: G.T. K. stands for Gas the [expletive], and they claim that it's just a joke, but it's not. There's also the slogan: Welcome to the Alt-Right, Where the Holocaust Never Happened, but we want it to happen again. How was that not violent? Like the Holocaust wasn't enough for you? I would see violent images with these jokes that people were making that were violent. And I just became completely desensitized to it. So, this was one of the first websites that I went to.
Geraldine Moriba: Samantha walked us through the ways extremists use social media and memes like these to gain followers.
Samantha: And before we do this, I do want to tell you, I have refused to do this for anyone else because I don't want to give these groups the clicks and I don't want to give them a platform.
Geraldine Moriba: So, don't say the URLs?
Samantha: Okay. There were things about: Is NAFTA Good? Things about eugenics. All written in this very dry, seemingly educated tone. And just have you ever considered this? These questions that you never thought about asking are suddenly in your head and you really don't know how to answer them.
Geraldine Moriba: And you're not on the dark web right now. These are mainstream websites.
Samantha: That's YouTube. That's YouTube right there. They're platforms. They don't care if it's good or bad. They care that they get traffic. This is a screenshot of a Facebook page or maybe a Twitter post by an account called Antifa Squad. And it says racist and whiteness are the same thing. In order to end racism, we must end whiteness. That's the only solution. And on the bottom of this long rant about how white people need to go extinct on a telephone pole, there's a poster that says: When You Date a White, It's Not Alright. The thing about this is, this is alt-right made, created, thought, and done.
Geraldine Moriba: So, this is fake?
Samantha: This is absolutely fake. The alt-right made this to make normal people walking their dogs or bringing their kids to a park to see it and they say, 'What is this?' And then it starts this conversation of, well, also, 'What is Antifa? Why are they saying that it's not okay to date white people?' And that instills this weird fear that shouldn't be there to begin with, that is absolutely paranoid fear, but it's stuff like that that the alt-right did that would make, I mean, someone like myself just kinda be, like, 'Wait a minute, what does that even mean?' And then it starts a conversation on their terms.
Jamila Paksima: What's the deal with antifa? That word gets tossed around a lot, even by President Trump.
Geraldine Moriba: Jamila, antifa means anti-facist. It's a blanket term used to describe a spectrum of Americans on the left, from a few people who use aggressive tactics - to people who march peacefully against injustice. Here's the thing, it's a label used to stir up fear. Samantha knew this and ignored it because the attention she got from white supremacists was intoxicating and having a German grandmother made her especially appealing.
Samantha: I didn't realize or know that she was Hitler Youth until I was, like, in my early teens. She would only tell us that she was evacuated to the Black Forest with other children and that she was kept there and separated from her family for a long time. She had said that the American troops had come to wherever she was to rescue them. And it happened to be a black American soldier. She was afraid to touch him because she had
never seen a black person before and she thought that the ink would rub off on her. And she was forever grateful.
German Army Parade 1938: Young men of the new German Reich.
Samantha's Brother: There was one story that she would mention.
Geraldine Moriba: Samantha's younger brother remembers these stories too.
Samantha's Brother: Like Nazis would come down the street having parades, whatever, and they would hand out puppies. You know, 'Oh, you got a puppy. Yay!' And then come back a few months later: 'Alright, so, who do you like more: the puppy or Hitler?' And then they would force them to kill the puppy to prove their…
Samantha: Their loyalty.
Samantha's Brother: Loyalty. There you go. I'm sorry.
Geraldine Moriba: Growing up with someone who had such vivid memories and who was rescued by somebody black and comes to America and teaches you to love good people, not white people, but good people. Sam, how do you end up going all the way to the opposite end of the spectrum?
Samantha: I didn't go into this movement believing I was racist or having any ideology that I believed was anti anyone else. I truly believed that I was just trying to express German pride.
Geraldine Moriba: How did this information become revealed to you? Do you remember?
Samantha's Brother: That she was practicing white supremacy? I mean, like, the entire time it's been I was privy to it like I… She basically served it to me on a silver platter and was, like, 'This is what I'm doing'. But I didn't really piece it together until those extreme instances were brought up and I had to, like, seriously consider breaking my relationship with her.
Geraldine Moriba: You did?
Samantha's Brother: Oh, absolutely.
Geraldine Moriba: And what prevented you from doing that?
Samantha's Brother: I really don't know. I mean, she's my sister and I love her and we've grown so close together.
Geraldine Moriba: You're openly gay.
Samantha's Brother: Who told you? (laughter)
Geraldine Moriba: How did you feel about your sister's involvement with people who were adamantly anti-LGBTQ?
Samantha's Brother: She always, like, reassured me, like, 'Oh, don't worry, it's okay. Like, just don't don't flaunt it'.
Geraldine Moriba: How is that reassuring? She's telling you to hide it.
Samantha's Brother: Well, yeah, no, exactly. That's the point. Like it was, she would try to convince me that her ideology and everything that she was with at the time was the right thing to do and was the future of the United States and the world.
Geraldine Moriba: Let's get started.
Andrew Morantz: Okay.
Geraldine Moriba: Please say your name and current occupation.
Andrew MorantzP: I'm Andrew Morantz and I'm a writer with The New Yorker magazine. And I wrote a book called Anti-Social Online Extremists, Techno-Utopians and the Hijacking of the American Conversation.
Geraldine Moriba: Andrew Marantz was reporting on why people like Samantha are sucked in by online content from the far right.
Andrew Marantz: We use words like radicalization and it makes it sound like there's some special magic potion that gets deployed or there's some kind of, you know, training camp that people go to or something. But really, I think it works the way any other belief transmission pathway works; people forming a kind of social online group of like-minded folks who, you know, pass links to each other and pass videos to each other and kind of give each other social support. Right. So, they'll say, 'Well, you're gonna hear this kind of argument. The next time you hear that, you know, here's a good counter argument to that counter argument'. They just kind of bolster each other. Another thing about it is that it's not all intellectual drills and, kind of, dry argumentation; a lot of it is also just getting people used to a similar sense of humor, a similar set of in-jokes. All these things that kind of form group cohesion that aren't specifically ideological.
Geraldine Moriba: It's part marketing and part just training.
Andrew Marantz: It really is just like any other group. It's radicalization because the ideas are radical, but it's not that different from what it's like when you are learning how to be a good, you know, young Democrat or young Republican. You know, you kind of learn a set of talking points.
Geraldine Moriba: Are there certain online platforms that are more useful to this type of recruitment than others?
Andrew Marantz: It can kind of happen anywhere. Different platforms have different content, moderation rules. Some places will crack down on you much more quickly than others. So, I think what these groups have learned to do is to adapt to use code for things. You know, they're not going to go around using the 'N-word' or putting up swastikas because they know that will get them banned. One of the main sort of cautionary points that I was left with after really getting to understand Samantha's story is that if someone like Samantha is not immune, then I don't really know who is. A lot of times when people hear about this kind of foremost online radicalization or extremism or whatever they're looking for some kind of silver lining or some kind of absolution, an indication that this could never happen to them or this could never happen to anyone they know.
Geraldine Moriba: When did you start questioning your loyalty to Identity Evropa?
Samantha: So, I just started to think critically about the movement and realized, like, none of this actually makes sense. This actually is just productive racism. This actually is just gearing up for a bunch of angry, insecure white people to commit violence. And I'm sure a lot of people in there, when they joined, didn't think that.
Geraldine Moriba: But you helped recruit.
Geraldine Moriba: You helped post things online.
Samantha: Exactly. Yeah.
Geraldine Moriba: You were actively involved.
Samantha: Exactly. I feel like that almost made it even more difficult because there was still a part of me that was true in that movement, that I didn't use racial slurs, but I was still racist. I was still, you know, this garbage person with this dumpster fire of a mind. I
don't come from a white, straight Christian back -- or at least not a fully white, straight Christian background. So, it was really hard to realize that I had compromised myself in everything that I knew to be true.
Geraldine Moriba: What does that mean, 'I don't come from a white, straight Christian background'?
Samantha: I mean, I have people in my family; you know, my brother's gay, my aunts and uncles are gay. I have people in my family that are Muslim and from Iran, you know, or Iranian-Americans. I have Jewish people in my family. And I love them all.
Geraldine Moriba: But Samantha's diverse family background didn't stop her from becoming a white nationalist. Instead of being appalled, she was charmed. She attended book burnings and sometimes she raised her hand in a Nazi 'sieg heil' salute.
Samantha: You're at a party, someone starts to do it and you almost it's it just felt like, you know, the whole crowd joins in and whoever doesn't is a chicken.
Geraldine Moriba: If you don't do it.
Samantha: Yeah. I mean, there were jokes amongst leaders that they don't trust people that don't seig heil because either you don't understand the irony, quote unquote, or because you just don't believe in what they believe.
Geraldine Moriba: Photojournalist Gordon says white supremacist groups put men in front-facing positions and women in support functions.
Glenna Gordon: Even if women are doing, for example, all the labor of organizing who's in which car to get to Charlottesville, like, that's a lot of work; that's a lot of labor. To unpack white supremacy, you have to look at how they're contributing. Why is it important that there's a picnic before the cross-burning? Women create the space for those public events, for the men to do the more outward looking jobs. And I think that in the same way that women's work is overlooked across the board, we overlook it when we look at white supremacy and then we're, like, we have to deal with all these disenfranchised young men. And you're, like, cool -- and the women who make sure that they have a picnic to go to.
Geraldine Moriba : Wait a second, we're describing a woman's worth in white supremacy, like the picnic.
Glenna Gordon : Yeah.
Geraldine Moriba : Planning this march.
Glenna Gordon : Yeah.
Geraldine Moriba : Getting the cars to bring the guys to Charlottesville to beat people.
Glenna Gordon: Yeah. That's women's work. And that's why I think it's important that we look at the fact that they do it. If we are only addressing public violence, we're not addressing white supremacy. White supremacy is also that picnic. That's the whole point. When we look at this, like, tip of the iceberg, the people out there beating each other with clubs, like, that is such a small percentage of the damage that white supremacy does. Also, so many things go into that one act of public violence. So many hateful picnics.
Kathleen Belew: I'm Kathleen Belew. I'm author of Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America and I teach history at the University of Chicago.
Geraldine Moriba: Kathleen Belew says to understand women's work in these groups, it's important to know what happened in the late 1970s. that's when groups like klansmen, neo-nazis, tax protesters, and other violent white separatist groups came together as a unified white power movement.
Kathleen Belew: A lot of people hear white nationalism and think that it's sort of just a kind of overzealous patriotism. In fact, the white power movement, which is how we should be referring to these activists, is a much more revolutionary project. They don't see the nation that they're fighting for as the United States. They're interested in a transnational group of white people and they envision often a very violent outcome that involves the overthrow of the federal government and sometimes the establishment of an all-white world. So, when we hear white nationalism, I think it confuses people. I think white power, which is also what these groups most often call themselves, is a better way to understand what they're envisioning and the kind of violent outcome they're hoping for.
Geraldine Moriba: What is there for women to gain by being a part of this lifestyle?
Kathleen Belew: That's an excellent and really important question. So, if you think about it, this is a movement that declared race war in 1983. And we can look at underground cells of white power activists that included women. Now, women weren't out there doing the violent crime, but they were doing things like driving getaway cars, designing medallions that would identify a secret society groups with one another, helping people disguise themselves, dyeing people's hair for evading the FBI, things like that. White women have benefited from their position of power even when they have a secondary position to men. So that is to say, even when women have less power in a
system because of their gender, they have benefited overwhelmingly because of their race. And what we find is women have, across the course of American history, fought quite hard and violently to protect that power.
Samantha: I was just completely warped in what I thought reality was for people because I was in a position of leadership and because I was, I guess, brainwashed or convinced that this was a movement worth fighting for, I never talked about it. I just kept going as if nothing happened. I lied to women and said, you know, 'You will, you know, you're going to find your place as a woman in here'. And to men it was, 'You'll find a girlfriend. Don't worry'.
Geraldine Moriba: A warning to our listeners: Some of the content you are about to hear is graphic and sexually violent.
Samantha: The way that women were roped in and then, once they were in the way, they immediately lost their agency and power and sense of self and self-worth. I went through a lot of psychological abuse and a lot of gaslighting. You couldn't go to any parties unless you had a boyfriend or unless you were associated to a specific man in there. And in order to do that, you had to date someone in there. And when you dated a man in there, whatever he said went. And a lot of the men in there were very controlling, would only let you go to certain parties, would stalk you if you rejected them. I can't tell you how many women would tell me that they went on a date or two with some guy and he either proposed to her by the second date or demanded physical intimacy. She wasn't ready for it. Didn't know how to say no. He then said that she was a whore, that she was worthless, that he, you know, that she was bad breeding stock anyway, that he would find her and kill her, that he would find her family and tell them how despicable of a person she was. And this is more than one woman. It was just this common occurrence.
Geraldine Moriba: Is that something that you witnessed?
Samantha: Yeah, absolutely. I saw it.
Geraldine Moriba: You saw women physically hurt.
Geraldine Moriba: In front of you.
Geraldine Moriba: Publicly.
Samantha: Yes. I mean, I never watched a woman get raped, but I know that they were. I know that they were. You don't forget calls like that. You don't forget tones of voices like that, you don't forget the sound of a woman trying to understand why something just happened and if it was her fault for saying no. You know, a lot of women's value as they got deeper into the movement was solely based on their physical attraction and sexual value. A lot of men would joke about gang raping women and then to get calls from women or messages from women saying that they were raped or abused. And then you go to another party where you hear those jokes again. You start to realize that they're not jokes. They're almost bragging or making plans.
Geraldine Moriba: In addition to verbal and physical abuse, Belew says women are also gauged by their ability to propagate the white race.
Kathleen Belew:'We're going to outbreed the enemy,' as one leader put it.
Geraldine Moriba: In other words, their ability to have white babies.
Kathleen Belew: It was very common to see publications say things like, you know, a picture of a beautiful white woman and then a legend of something like, 'If this woman doesn't have at least three children, she's speeding her race to extinction'. That symbolic and reproductive capacity underlies a lot of white power ideology for women and for men and for everyone else who's drawn into this movement, because a lot of issues that people understand as sort of 'capital C', conservative issues, like opposing abortion, opposing immigration, opposing LGBT rights, for people in the white power movement were understood as being deeply linked to reproduction. So, white power activists opposed abortion not only because of the reasons with which most of us have become familiar, but also because they thought it would lower the white birthrate.
Geraldine Moriba: What you're describing is a very deep policing of women's bodies.
Kathleen Belew: Absolutely.
Samantha: There was something around called like the White Baby Challenge. And it was like, see how many white kids you can have.
Geraldine Moriba: Samantha witnessed and endorsed this reproductive mission.
Samantha: It was all under this guise of like be a woman, like, stay at home, your husband will provide for you. You can have kids in homeschool and do all this stuff. And the reality, rarely, if at all, ever, did that match. There were women that were advocates of it by voice, but the majority of women in there did not have a choice. It was interesting to be told that I was the breeder or that women in there were meant to be the breeders when we were the ones that had jobs and we were the ones supporting all of these men,
making these podcasts and getting doxxed and saying all these violent things. I can't tell you how many men in there would say that women were cancer or women were a plague and then literally turn around and try and date every woman they see. Women are just property. We're pawns and were property, and we were this pretend power that men had. It was a lot of mental gymnastics.
Geraldine Moriba: Afraid for her safety, she worried no one would know what happened to her. So, she contacted journalist Andrew Marantz to get her story on the record.
Andrew Marantz: One night I was in my office at The New Yorker in the World Trade Center. I got an email from a sort of burner address that just said, 'Hi, I'm the woman you've been hearing about, do you want to talk on Skype?'
Geraldine Moriba: They talked on Skype for three hours that first night. Then they talked the next day. And again and again over the next few months.
Andrew Marantz: Reporting on this world of stuff you're constantly having people try to scam you or constantly trying to get people to print stuff that's not true. And when she came out of the woodwork like this and said, 'Hi, I am just coming out of this white identitarian, antisemitic movement and I would just like to talk to this Jewish journalist who I've never met and tell him all my secrets,' I just thought, 'Okay, there's something fishy going on here'. So, it took months, I think, for me to trust her and for her to trust me. She had taken in the same talking points and she had been radicalized by the same texts in the same videos. And so she, you know, she was sort of saying the same things that they were saying and believing the same things that they were believing until she started to come out of it.
Samantha's Brother: We're three years apart. I'm 27 now.
Geraldine Moriba: The person most willing to help Samantha get out was her younger brother. Samantha: (laughter) Yeah, I know. It's so bad. The milk is excellent though.
Samantha's Brother: Yes!
Samantha: The milk is so good.
Samantha's Brother: The one thing we did control. It's so stale though.
Samantha: That texture though.
Samantha's Brother: Yeah, no, the texture is really great, but that espresso is so stale.
Samantha: So, we just made coffee. (laughter) It's just so embarrassing.
Samantha's Brother: It, like, brings everything to the forefront when you say, 'practicing white supremacy'.
Samantha's Brother: It's not like she was a Southern Baptist.
Samantha: I was a white supremacist.
Geraldine Moriba: It's a belief though. It's a belief system.
Samantha's Brother: I remember you telling me that you didn't want to be forced to have mixed-race children.
Samantha's Brother: That was a point when I was just like, 'I don't know where you're coming from anymore 'cause…'
Samantha: And you were like, 'Who's telling you this?'
Samantha's Brother: Yeah.
Samantha: Again. Now, looking back on it, I just can't believe that that's something that I even considered being true. But at the time, I was so insecure. And I was with someone who was so insecure that I was like, 'Am I a bad ally? Am I a bad person?' Yeah, I fell for it like an idiot.
Samantha's Brother: People in that area knew her and our family. So, I moved to Colorado.
Geraldine Moriba: You left Florida?
Samantha's Brother: Yeah.
Geraldine Moriba: To protect yourself?
Samantha's Brother: Yeah.
Geraldine Moriba: Sam, you jeopardized your family, too.
Samantha: I love my family so much, and when I realized how selfish that was, and I did it under the guise of legacy and all of these bullshit reasons. Uhm.. I can't come up with words. I can't. There's nothing in this world that I could do in my mind that would make up for or even out the people that I put in danger.
Geraldine Moriba: As the women's leader of Identity Evropa, Samantha had access to records about membership and strategic plans. The more aware she became of the hate she was supporting, the more terrified she became.
Samantha: I can't just disappear. If you just leave in the movement, people will think that you're a federal agent or your opposition and they will try and find you. To leave would be a betrayal. You're a race traitor. You're all kinds of terrible things.
Geraldine Moriba: Samantha was so worried about violent retaliation she went into hiding. Samantha: I really kept to myself and kind of used that time as a way to plan my next
move and to start the process of transforming my mind out of the alt-right mentality.
Geraldine Moriba: She got a new car and moved states away.
Samantha: I erased all of my email addresses. I changed my phone number more than once. I, you know, changed my hairstyle, too, many times.
Geraldine Moriba: She says she did all of these things to stay two steps ahead of anyone who might be looking for her.
Samantha: There's a lot of psychological warfare that goes on in this. I had been threatened. I had been told that I would be murdered. There was a point in my life where you just wake up with those thoughts of, 'Well, I guess…' You almost make peace with it, like, 'Well, I guess today might be the day that I'm killed'.
Samantha: And so I contacted my mom and said, 'You know, I'm gonna go; I'm going to leave, but it's gonna take time. And if I have to disappear and don't talk to you, I just need you to trust that I am doing what I need to do to get out'. I really, truly in that moment did not know if I was going to live to see her again. But I do know that I wasn't gonna to die a white supremacist. I wasn't gonna to die on the wrong side.
Geraldine Moriba: In the next episode of * Getting Out* , Samantha's connection to the most dangerous network of extremists -- the ones working inside Washington, D.C.'s Beltway.
Samantha: It was never discussed with me what he did. I just knew he worked for the government. To my knowledge, that was kind of the extent of what most people knew.
Michael Hayden: He is the most powerful of all the racists who have been connected to the Trump administration. He's the guy who has the president's ear.
Geraldine Moriba: These are complicated stories about people who hold onto false histories and terroristic ideologies -- and draw boundaries that are skin deep.
Jamila Paksima: If you or anyone you know has experienced a hate incident or crime, please contact your local law enforcement. You can also document what happened at splcenter.org/reporthate.
Geraldine Moriba: This is * Sounds Like Hate* , brought to you by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Additional comes from the Ring Foundation.
Jamila Paksima: I'm Jamila Paksima.
And I'm Geraldine Moriba. Thank you for listening.