The family of a protesters who participated in the white supremacy rally in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday (12 August) have disowned him.
Peter Tefft of Fargo, North Dakota was identified as one of the marchers by the Twitter account @YesYoureRacist on Saturday. According to The Huffington Post, Peter described himself to a reporter as "100 percent pro-white" in February.
Peter, like other white supremacy marchers who have been identified, was on the receiving end of a backlash for his actions. Pearce Tefft denounced his son's racist beliefs and said the whole family is against him.
In an open letter published in The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead on Monday (14 August), Pearce said he and other family members "wish to loudly repudiate" his son's "vile, hateful and racist rhetoric and actions."
"We do not know specifically where he learned these beliefs," Pearce wrote. "He did not learn them at home."
I have shared my home and hearth with friends and acquaintances of every race, gender and creed. I have taught all my children that all men and women are created equal. That we must love each other all the same.
Evidently Peter has chosen to unlearn these lessons, much to my and his family's heartbreak and distress. 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.
Pearce said his son is no longer welcomed at family gatherings. "I pray my prodigal son will renounce his hateful beliefs and return home. Then and only then will I lay out the feast," he added. Pearce urged Peter to "renounce the hate, accept and love all".
In a statement to local station WDAY TV, Peter Tefft's nephew, Jacob Scott, also disavowed him.
"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 said. "My grandfather feels especially grieved, as though he has failed as a father."
Peter Tefft has not publicly commented on his family's statements but defended white supremacist marchers and blamed counter protesters, local government and law enforcement for the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, who was killed when a car rammed through anti-racist protesters in Charlottesville.
James Fields, a 20-year-old from Ohio, was charged with second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding, and one count related to leaving the scene. Heyer, a local paralegal, was killed and 19 others were injured. Fields was denied bond during a hearing on Monday.
President Donald Trump also faced criticism when he initially failed to disavow white supremacists by name following the deadly incident. However on Monday (14 August), Trump called the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups "repugnant".