Tim Zaal, who has admitted to beating gays and was once charged with felony assault against a couple from Iran, says he "self recruited" into the world of white supremacy after watching a talk show designed to discredit their beliefs.
"The problem is it gives them credibility to some people ... I sought them out, I was totally consumed."
Zaal appeared on NBC4 LA's "News Conference" program.
The former white nationalist says that while various racist groups may march together, as they did in Charlottsville, Virginia, in reality great acrimony exists between them.
"There is a lot of infighting. It is very difficult to get together and unite. (There are) political differences, religious differences."
He says former KKK leader David Duke admonished him and associates for not trying to appear more "mainstream.”
"We were told to let our hair grow out, don't get tattoos, get an education ... embed yourself."
Zaal escaped what he calls "the racist bubble" years ago and now volunteers as a docent at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles.
While expressing disappointment with President Donald Trump’s leadership in countering hate groups, he appeared to support the idea the extreme left has more in common with the extreme right than either have to the political center.
"Some of the people that I use to be associated with actually had very far left views and have even recruited from the extreme left. Most people tell me 'what are you talking about' but it's true," he said.