The latest guest to talk to Jada Smith and her family on the show Red Table Talk is a man named Jeff Schoep who led one of the largest Neo-Nazi groups in the United States for nearly 30 years. He recalled his experiences after leaving the controversial organization.
A lifetime of spewing hate
The co-host Adrienne Banfield Norris (mother of host Jada Pinkett Smith) asked the man how long had he been a member of the white supremacist organization. Schoep answered, “27 years total. A lifetime, a lifetime” to which Banfield Norris replied, “That’s a lot of years spewing hate”.
Schoep was then asked, how he became a reformed Neo-Nazi. “It was people that helped me. When I first left –– I call it my decompression period… “ he said explaining that during that time his brain felt like it was shrinking. He continued, “You’re just like a sponge almost, because you’re going ‘Why did I stay so long? Why did I do this?’ And you feel really stupid, ignorant, and then you want to figure out ‘How can I fix this?’ “
Jada Smith gives a platform to reformed Nazi
The New York Times had reported that back in 2020, Schoep, who previously led the National Socialist Movement, said he wanted to help other members follow in his footsteps and leave.
“I have that skill set where I brought all these people to the movement… That skill set was put to the wrong use. I feel a sense of responsibility to do something meaningful to fix that.”
The Times reported that Schoep had first joined when he was 18, later becoming a commander within three years.
Discussing the factors that inspired his change of heart, Schoep shared how it wasn’t a major event but instead a snowball of small life experiences such as a Black man fixing his car and a Jewish woman bringing Schoep into her home. “Imagine waking up every day and being pissed off at the world. You just become distrusting of everything. It’s a really negative way to live.”
The Jewish News reported how Schoep finally left the movement in the summer of 2019 and made his first appearance at the Skokie Valley Agudath Jacob in front of an audience of Jewish people, six months later.
Schoep shared how 2 months after that, “The people were so kind and forgiving and loving. I don’t think I ever received so many hugs in my entire life until I got there.”