The father of a man who participated in a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., is denouncing his son, saying he did not learn his “hateful beliefs” at home.
“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 wrote in a letter published Monday on Inforum, about his son Peter Tefft.
The younger Tefft attended the weekend rally in Charlottesville and spoke to several news sources about his participation.
But his father said he did not raise his son to be racist.
“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?” the father wrote.
Pearce Tefft also expressed regret for not criticizing his son’s views sooner.
"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 Tefft wrote.
A nephew, Jacob Scott, also criticized Peter Tefft, alleging that he had threatened their family.
"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 Inforum. "He scares us all, we don’t feel safe around him, and we don’t know how he came to be this way."
Peter Tefft identified himself as a "pro-white activist" in an interview earlier this month, and said he shied away from being identified as a Nazi or a Nazi sympathizer because of the negative connotations associated with the word.
“My contention is that most of what constitutes hate speech affects pro-white speech,” Peter Tefft said in that interview. “Anti hate speech is synonymous with anti-white and anti-America."