A father in Fargo on Monday publicly disowned his 30-year-old son for apparently being among a gathering of white supremacists that violently clashed with opponents and police over the weekend in Charlottesville, Va.
In a letter posted online to the Forum of Fargo, Pearce Tefft said that “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. We do not know specifically where he learned these beliefs. He did not learn them at home.”
The father went on to declare that “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. Then and only then will I lay out the feast. … We do not, never have, and never will, accept his twisted worldview.”
Pearce Tefft closed by recounting his son’s attempt at humor, recalling when 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.”
People are trying to harness the power of social media to identify and shame the white nationalists who attended the rally. At least one person has lost a job as a result.
A Twitter page titled “Yes, You’re Racist” outed participants with photographs. “This charming Nazi is Pete Tefft of Fargo, ND,” the Twitter account said Saturday, and compared Tefft’s profile photo on Facebook to a grab of a video reportedly from the rally shot by leftist news outlet Unicorn Riot.
Neither father nor son could be reached Monday by the Star Tribune for comment. While in Charlottesville, Peter Tefft posted on Facebook a photo of himself next to the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee that is slated to be removed from a public park and was at the center of the dispute.
In a lengthy interview on a Fargo television station Monday night, Peter Tefft said the Charlottesville rally and its violent aftermath energized him and others whom he refers to as “pro-white civil rights activists.”
Speaking to Chris Berg of Valley News Live, Tefft said, “We don’t feel our movement was hindered at all. We feel this is the beginning of the new civil rights era.”
Despite President Donald Trump’s denunciation Monday of racism as “evil,” Tefft said he thinks “Trump is doing a great job in the White House.”
Tefft alleged that the young man driving the car that sped into a crowd and killed a woman in Virginia was being attacked by bat-wielding counterdemonstrators. He also said that he and his group failed to get police protection for their peaceful assembly.
“The lawsuit underway against the state of Virginia and the city of Charlottesville,” Tefft said, “is going to fund our movement for years to come.”
Scorn for Peter Tefft surfaced in Fargo earlier this year. In late January, signs started popping up downtown accusing the younger Tefft of being a Nazi and white supremacist.
When the Forum questioned him on this, he replied: “I’m interested solely in legal political action to further pro-white interests. We as white people have a right to exist, our own identity, and a right to campaign politically and legally for our own interests.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.