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Geraldo Rivera suffered a broken nose in a chair-throwing...

By RHEA MANDULO

NEW YORK -- Geraldo Rivera suffered a broken nose in a chair-throwing brawl that erupted during the taping of a show entitled 'Teen Hatemongers,' as young neo-Nazis from the racist 'skinheads' group battled black activist Roy Innis.

The melee Thursday erupted after a woman in the audience asked John Metzger, a 20-year-old representing the White Aryan Resistance Youth, what he was 'afraid of' in refusing to answer questions.

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Metzger replied he was 'sick and tired of hearing the sob stories from kikes like you.' Then, pointing to Innis, he said 'I get sick and tired of seeing the Uncle Tom here sucking up trying to be a white man.'

Innis, the head of the Congress of Racial Equality, jumped to his feet, pounding his fist in his hand, and moved to confront Metzger.

When Metzger began to rise out of his chair, Innis put a hand on his shoulder and then grabbed him around the throat with both hands.

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As the two men struggled, about 25 audience participants, including several other 'skinheads,' leaped from their seats and stormed the stage, rushing headlong into the brawl, sending some participants and technicians scattering in confusion.

During the brawl, a man identified by a spokeswoman on the show as a body guard for Metzger hurled a chair into the fray.

Rivera rushed to Innis's defense and was apparently struck from behind by a chair and punched in the nose. Eight security guards then broke up the fight.

The show, titled, 'Teen Hatemongers,' featured Innis, Jewish activists and leaders of several white supremacist youth groups known collectively as skinheads for the shaved scalps sported by many members.

Innis was involved in an earlier physical altercation with black activist the Rev. Al Sharpton on the 'Morton Downey Jr. Show' and the two had said they planned to stage a boxing match to settle their differences.

Innis said today he was morally obliged to defend himself against racial hatred.

'I don't think I'm at fault. I was verbally assaulted,' Innis said.

'My feeling is that it is immoral to sit around and acquiesce to these verbal assaults. I tried defuse the situation and I think it would have escalated more rapidly to a more serious situation if i hadn't gotten up.'

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Innis said he saw no difference between the white supremacists and Sharpton and New York lawyers C. Vernon Mason and Alton Maddox Jr., three radical black leaders who advised black teenager Tawana Brawley not to cooperate with a state investigation of her claim she was abducted and raped by whites.

'Al Sharpton, Mason and Maddox are a black racists and these guys are white racists,' Innis said. 'These guys are blood brothers. They are racist brothers.'

Innis said today he was morally obliged to defend himself against racial hatred.

'I don't think I'm at fault. I was verbally assaulted,' Innis said.

'My feeling is that it is immoral to sit around and acquiesce to these verbal assaults. I tried defuse the situation and I think it would have escalated more rapidly to a more serious situation if I hadn't gotten up.'

Police were called to the fourth-floor Broadway studio of the 'Geraldo' set after receiving reports that 15 skinheads had charged the stage and a chair was thrown, police spokeswoman Janice Swinney said.

Rivera was struck in the face during the melee but he refused medical treatment and did not press charges, Swinney said. There were no arrests, she said.

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Jennifer Geertz, a spokeswoman for the show, said Rivera's nose was broken. He resumed taping the show and two other segments after the skinheads were ejected from the set, she said.

Explaining later why he refused medical treatment, Rivera said, 'You can't do much about a broken nose.'

Asked if he threw any punches, Rivera who said he had been an amateur boxer, replied, 'I had my audience to protect, my guests.'

Defending the subject matter of his show and his choice of guests, he added, 'I think it's important to expose these hate mongers ... sunlight is the best disinfectant.'

Metzger said later he stood up to defend himself.

'I wasn't about to give him any advantage to be continuously abusive,' Innis said, adding that he had earlier told the skinheads he would not tolerate any verbal abuse.

The panelists also included Bob Heick, director of the American Front, Michael Palasch, head of the Skinheads of the National Resistance, Mordechai Levy of the Jewish Defense Organization and Rabbi A. Goldman of the Center for Jewish Living.

Rivera, 45, said he wanted to do the show because 'these racist thugs have to know that we're not backing down. They're like roaches who scurry in the light of exposure.'

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The WNBC show will be broadcast in late November.

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