A North Dakota father is disowning his 30-year-old son who was among the crowd of white nationalist marchers at the weekend’s deadly rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Pearce Tefft penned a moving letter to his son, Peter, on Monday, pleading with him to let go of his “hateful opinions” or face permanent estrangement from his family.
“My son is not welcome at our family gatherings any longer,” Tefft wrote in a letter on the newspaper Forum of Fargo‘s website.”I pray my prodigal son will renounce his hateful beliefs and return home. Then and only then will I lay out the feast.”
On Saturday, a pre-planned “Unite the Right” rally erupted into violence as the white supremacist protesters clashed with counter-protesters who were demonstrating against the event. A 20-year-old man identified as James Alex Fields Jr. is accused of ramming his car into a group of protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer.
Peter is reportedly shown in footage from the rally speaking with a cameraman. In an interview on Monday, the self-described “pro-white activist” told CBS Minnesota that he’s simply fighting for civil rights.
“As far as the term ‘white supremacist’ goes, in my view, anybody that thinks white people don’t need advocacy, they are the white supremacists,” Peter Tefft said.
Pearce Tefft said his son’s views were not learned at home and he hopes that the family will not be held accountable for Peter’s actions.
“His hateful opinions are bringing hateful rhetoric to his siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews as well as his parents,” Tefft continued in his letter. “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.”
Peter’s nephew, Jacob Scott, described him as a “crazy Nazi,” telling the Forum that Peter has sparked fear among the family.
“He scares us all,” Scott said in a statement. “We don’t feel safe around him, and we don’t know how he came to be this way.”
He added: “We reject him wholly — both him as a vile person … and also his hideous ideology, which we abhor.”