The metal world was sharply divided two months ago, when it was made known that Phil Anselmo of Down and Pantera seemingly made a “white power” gesture at Dimebash. He’s since apologized multiple times for the incident, but the backlash continues – Down just pulled out of Hellfest after the French government asked concert organizers to remove them from the show.
Phil wrote a letter to Hellfest head organizer Ben Barbaud, stating, “My AWFUL mistake has taken a toll on my reputation, and justly so! However I must point out, you damned well KNOW ME better than this drunken incident could ever describe. Hellfest is my heart!!! And my embarrassment is tremendous, because I only have LOVE for people all over this skirmishing earth. So, my brother, it f-ing rips my heart into further pieces to let you know, I don’t think I should do ANY Euro festivals this year.
So PLEASE, I BEG YOU, give me this time to get my brain clear, and to come back (if you will have me back) next year my brother, I implore you! Plus, the re-emergence of the knee injuries have been plaguing me of late as well, so I must address this too, through physical rehabilitation and rest.
Knowing my character, when I put my mind to something THIS DIRE, I come back 100 times better, and THAT’S what the mighty Hellfest deserves!!!”
Down will likely continue to pull out of more shows, until the backlash dies down from this incident. It doesn’t seem to be dying soon either.
If you forgot the incident, you can watch it below.
Let’s go back to “the division” of the metal world in response to Phil‘s actions. Some fans feel as though it was inappropriate, other fans feel as though everyone needs to “lighten up” …. “clearly he was joking” they said.
Without knowing Phil personally, it’s hard to say what his true intentions behind this gesture were. I’ve met him once, at a record store in Chicago, during a signing with The Illegals. While it was awesome to meet Phil (and he did say hello and thank us for coming) – I can tell you the man was very distracted by what was going on around him. It’s just how he is. He’s even more distracted when Darkthrone is playing over the speakers! I find it hard to believe he gave much thought to the “white power” incident at all.
Can we, now, give Phil a break? What he did was inappropriate, but he’s apologized and acknowledged how misplaced his actions were. Or, are we going to make this a teaching moment? What do you think we should do?
At the very least, we can give Phil Anselmo what he’s asking for – “time to get his brain clear.”