Scott Ian says Phil Anselmo should be forgiven for his “white power” salute – but only if he proves he deserves it.
The Down frontman’s gesture at last month’s Dimebash event caused outrage, with Anthrax guitarist Ian and Machine Head mainman Robb Flynn among those who condemned the move.
Ian tells Sticks For Stones: “Just asking to be forgiven doesn’t mean you should be forgiven. I’ve had a long running dialogue with Phil since this happened.
“I’ve known the dude almost 30 years. He’s like a brother – he’s family. And when someone in your family has a problem, you discuss it and you try to find a solution.”
He adds: “It’s not okay in any world, let alone the metal world, to do these kind of things in any context. Words are too powerful. Especially Phil Anselmo’s words.
“There’s too many impressionable people out there who listen to everything that dude says.”
Ian had previously suggested that Anselmo make a donation to Jewish human rights body the Simon Wiesenthal Center. He reports: “Possibly the stupidest thing that I saw was someone saying, ‘Why would you want him to donate to the Wiesenthal Center? That’s a Jew thing, and white power has nothing to do with Jews.’
“That just shows you the ignorance out there.”
Down remain under the spotlight after several shows were cancelled, while organisers of Hellfest in France continue to resist pressure from local authorities to drop the band from their bill.
The French Cultural Commission withdrew €20,000 of funding following Anselmo’s outburst. But event promoter Ben Barbaud argues that the Commission simply used the controversy as an excuse to stop supporting his festival for political reasons.
Barbaud writes in an open letter: “Philip Anselmo has acted, I grant you, as an imbecile. Admit it, though – this does not interest you, only the pretext by which to please your electorate through cutting your ties to our event.
“This festival has been such a successful adventure and example of human success. It has eradicated much prejudice against a stigmatised and caricatured public, too often wrongly judged as violent, occultist, even satanic.
“I challenge you to find one person able to prove that our festival incites racial or religious hatred. You would not find a single one. You are fighting the wrong fight.”