‘Hate groups’ in NJ respond to new report – actually, they hate it
The term "hate group" is not sitting well with organizations across the state and country that were called out in the latest report from the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The report cited 40 active hate groups in New Jersey, ranking the state behind only California, Florida and New York, but some of the groups mentioned on New Jersey's "Hate Map" have no clue why they're part of the findings.
"I don't consider us a hate group by any means," said Jeff Schoep, commander of the National Socialist Movement, which has five chapters in New Jersey and is classified as a Neo-Nazi hate group in the SPLC report. "We are a white civil rights organization, standing up for one's people. No matter what race you are, everyone has that right here in the United States."
According to Schoep, the report is guilty of "slandering and misrepresenting" several groups.
The Advanced White Society, described in the report as a White Nationalist group, was cited with a base in Pemberton Township.
Founder Jason Hiecke, born and raised in New Jersey, turned the tables around and referred to SPLC as "the largest hate organization in the United States."
"They portray anybody that does not fall under their beliefs, or conform to them, as a hate group," Hiecke said. "Why should we be considered a hate organization because we want to look out for the advancement of our own race?"
Hiecke said his group believes every race should have the right to prosper "without outside influence of other races."
According to the report's map, three groups reside in Pemberton, including the two mentioned above, as well as a "racist skinhead" group known as AC Skins. However, Chief of Police David Jantas said his department has no interaction with these groups.
"I cannot deny their existence, but I can tell you that with Pemberton being as diverse as it is, we don't get a lot of activity here," he said.
Months ago, the department received numerous complaints from residents regarding the distribution of flyers that pushed a "distasteful, white agenda," but Jantas said no crime was committed.