The father of a North Dakota man who marched in a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., this weekend has denounced his son’s behaviour, saying “he is not welcome at our family gatherings any longer.”
“I, along with all of his siblings and his entire family, wish to loudly repudiate my son’s vile, hateful, and racist rhetoric and actions,” Pearce Tefft, father of Peter Tefft, wrote in a letter to the Fargo newspaper The Forum. “We do not know specifically where he learned these beliefs. He did not learn them at home.”
Peter Tefft found himself at the center of controversy on Saturday when the popular Twitter account “Yes, You’re Racist” identified him as having apparently attended the white nationalist rally. A woman was killed at the rally and several others were injured when a man plowed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters.
According to his Facebook page, Tefft identifies as a member of the alt-right. He declared the rally a success in a Facebook post containing pejorative references to nonwhites, non-Christians, and liberals.
“Ultimately, this was a victory for us. Our movement will be emboldened by Charlottesville,” Tefft wrote.
But in the letter to The Forum, Tefft’s father said his son has caused the family “heartbreak and distress.”
“I pray my prodigal son will renounce his hateful beliefs and return home. Then and only then will I lay out the feast,” Pearce Tefft wrote.
He continued: “His hateful opinions are bringing hateful rhetoric to his siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews as well as his parents. Why must we be guilty by association? Again, none of his beliefs were learned at home. We do not, never have, and never will, accept his twisted worldview.”
In a separate statement to The Forum, Peter Tefft’s nephew Jacob Scott also distanced himself from Tefft, calling him a “maniac” who “scares us all.”
“Peter is a maniac, who has turned away from all of us and gone down some insane internet rabbit-hole, and turned into a crazy nazi,” Scott told the newspaper. “He scares us all, we don’t feel safe around him, and we don’t know how he came to be this way. My grandfather feels especially grieved, as though he has failed as a father.”
Scott said Tefft’s connection to the protest has led people to harass his family.
“Our relatives were calling us in a panic earlier today, demanding we delete all Facebook photos that connect us to them,” he said.
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