Phil Anselmo has taken to social media, releasing a statement condemning his now infamous white power salute/
stand up comedy routine late last month, apologising profusely for his actions and recommending that his bandmates in Down continue on without him.
So, let’s backtrack. If you’ve been anywhere on social media within the last fortnight, you would be aware of the controversial remarks made at Dimebash last month, where the former Pantera vocalist concluded his set by giving a straight-armed salute and shouting “white power!” – an undoubtedly silly fucking thing to do. Now, in the immediate backlash of the incident, he initially claimed that these remarks were a reference to the white wine being served backstage. Nevertheless, the vilification has continued to simmer over the last two weeks, and as many of his metal contemporaries began publicly condemning him, Phil has altered his tone.
It’s definitely not the first time Phil has made comments which have been ’taken out of context’. Videos have surfaced online of racist comments he made back in early 1995, not to mention back in 2004 when he spoke to Metal Hammer and supposedly wished violence against his former bandmate Dimebag Darrell, just weeks before Dimebag’s onstage murder.
In the grand scheme of things, it really comes down to this. They were stupid and racist comments and they offended people, there’s no sidestepping from that. If they were truly racially motivated comments, then the degree of condemnation he has received is somewhat deserved – however, if this was just a bad joke (as he has persistently claimed it to be) then this rampant condemnation has simply gone to the extreme.
I personally feel that these comments belong to the latter category. Any man who truly stuck to a racially intolerant agenda would dig themselves further into a hole. They would not fold, nor apologise to the degree that Phil has. It’s pretty clear that he’s remorseful for his actions. While the backlash has gone far beyond what is deserved, we can’t escape the ever-dominant focus political correctness in our climate of ultra-outrage. Even if these were comments made in jest, a public figure will be scrutinized mercilessly for something like this, something which Phil should have known.
But despite all this, you have to really question whether there’s a point in dwelling on comments made in a drunken stupor by a man nearing 50. There are far more severe injustices occurring every day. They just fucking remade Point Break – I saw the trailer, and I’m legitimately disgusted.
Obviously, his fan base and the metal community have every right to feel outraged at his actions, and they will do so. He said something fucking stupid and he’s taking responsibility for his actions, which is a bold move on his part. But that’s it, we shouldn’t ostracise him for this like so many have suggested. In the end, he’s just another flawed human being that is very capable of growth.
There really isn’t much left Phil can do, and I propose we all move on. Forgive and forget. The man has been broken by his comments and obviously has some lingering personal demons – build him back, don’t continue to break him down.