There is much debate over whether or not it’s okay to punch a Nazi. Samantha Bee seems to be coming down on the side of “no,” but she does want you to donate to an organization founded by former neo-Nazi Christian Picciolini called Life After Hate.
Bee told Entertainment Weekly that she became familiar with the group while filming a segment for Full Frontal, which will be released in September. The teaser was released on Monday along with her message that punching a Nazi “doesn’t help,” which kind of obscures the importance of the actual campaign, if the replies to this tweet are any indication:
Life After Hate works to help white supremacists leave their network of racism and hate, and trains them to become mentors to young people who are potential violent extremists. They had a federal grant to support their work, but the Trump administration yanked that funding in June:
“The group came to our attention during a field piece because we learned about the imminent loss of that grant,” Bee said. “We heard it was the only organization outside of the FBI that was doing this type of work — trying to extract people out of the life of violent white supremacy.”
In an interview with NPR, Picciolini reflected on the violent events in Charlottesville and what he thinks has changed in the white supremacist movement since he left it 20 years ago. Picciolini says that the movement has spread beyond what most people think of when they imagine skinheads and neo-Nazis, because people looking for community are able to find it on the Internet, which he calls a propaganda machine:
They’re able to find that community, and they’re able to find that purpose that’s being fed to them by savvy recruiters who understand how to target vulnerable young people. And they go for this solution because, frankly, it promises paradise. And it requires very little work except for dedicating your life to that purpose.
But I can say that they’re all being fooled, because the people at the very top have an agenda. And it’s a broken ideology that can never work, that in fact, is destroying people’s lives more than the promise that they were given of helping the world or saving the white race.
You can read more about the campaign here, if you have time on your day off from punching a Nazi.