Over the weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, thousands of white nationalists gathered to protest the city’s plans to remove a statue honoring Confederate war icon General Robert E. Lee.
One of those who descended upon Charlottesville was a man named Peter Tefft of Fargo, North Dakota. In a remarkable turn of events, his father, Pearce Tefft, has published a letter in local media that states that he hereby effectively disowns his son over his association with the white nationalist/ neo-Nazi movement.
The elder Tefft wrote:
‘We have been silent up until now, but now we see that this was a mistake. It was the silence of good people that allowed the Nazis to flourish the first time around, and it is the silence of good people that is allowing them to flourish now. Peter Tefft, my son, is not welcome at our family gatherings any longer. I pray my prodigal son will renounce his hateful beliefs and return home.’
Pearce Tefft added that his son most certainly did not learn his neo-Nazi viewpoints at home, writing that he taught his children that “all men and women are created equal” and that “we must love each other all the same.”
Tefft added a disturbing detail about his son’s descent into modern day fascism, writing:
‘He once joked, “The thing about us fascists is, it’s not that we don’t believe in freedom of speech. You can say whatever you want. We’ll just throw you in an oven.” Peter, you will have to shovel our bodies into the oven, too. Please son, renounce the hate, accept and love all.’
As Pearce Tefft noted in his letter, the gathering that his son attended resulted in the deaths of three people, including one woman — 32 year old Heather Heyer — who was killed in a car ramming attack carried out by a white nationalist from Ohio named James Fields.
Peter Tefft wrote a Facebook defending Fields, claiming that “it is clear that the young man’s car was being attacked on all sides by a roving mob of Antifa when he slammed the gas pedal and accelerated.”
Tefft’s father, Pearce, isn’t the only one to speak out against him. His nephew, Jacob Scott, has also done so, telling local media:
‘In brief, we reject him wholly — both him personally as a vile person who has HIMSELF made violent threats against our family, and also his hideous ideology, which we abhor… 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. He scares us all, we don’t feel safe around him, and we don’t know how he came to be this way.’
Scott added that some of his family members have been being harassed because of their association, by blood, with Peter. Those who have been harassed include a 13 year old female cousin of Scott’s named Julia who lives in Hawaii.
With these things in mind, Peter’s family wants to make it abundantly clear that they want nothing to do with him.
Featured Image via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images