“Fake news,” is a phrase that has been getting tossed out quite a bit since Trump first used the phrase to denounce some media outlets. Now, it appears that Pantera frontman Phil Anselmo is picking up on the trend, claiming that “false journalism in the metal community,” is to blame for suggesting he was racist.
Back in 2016, at the Dimebash event honoring deceased Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell, a video surfaced of Anelmo flashing a Nazi-style salute and appeared to say the phrase “white power,” as he was leaving the stage following a performance of “Walk.” The video went viral across the metal community, and Anselmo later claimed that the whole thing was a joke about drinking white wine backstage and was egged on by audience members who were taunting him.
Anselmo had more words to say in an interview with Mass Media Magazine, and claimed that he was treated unfairly by knee-jerk journalism.
“There is false journalism in the metal community, and the result is all knee-jerk reaction,” he said. “Look at this all and what happened. There is no questions asked in the moment. It is just straight to the persecution.”
Anselmo continued to rant about the unfair treatment he received, and attempted to defend his character.
“Did anyone ask Phil before you persecuted him? Did anyone ask what caused this? Did anyone [who ended up judging me] ask [for] my side [of the story] at that very moment? No!
“I will explain it again, and perhaps readers can see it from my point of view. I am the kind of guy who sits back and watches. I see the world and the factions of the world who are offended, and the offenders who are doing it just for fun. I thought I was an individual who would not get caught up in anything, but I put myself into a box that night, you know. I am not into identity politics. I am into individuals with strong minds. That is all that f***ing matters.”
Anselmo ultimately blames fans in the crowd for the video, saying I was heckled constantly by a couple of motherfuckers with an agenda. I had warned them several times to stop. You can clearly hear me do this several times, ’cause I had the microphone in my hand. You can hear me say, ‘If you call me that one more fuckin’ time, I will invite you on this f***in’ stage so I can break your f***in’ jaw!’”
However, he does take some responsibility for the incident, telling Mass Magazine:
“Unfortunately, I showed those kids what they were fuckin’ looking for. The scary things, and the ugliness. And ugly it was. I get it. But did I lay a f***in’ finger on anybody? I said what they wanted to hear… and that’s on me. The outcome wasn’t meant to support racism. That is just not me, and those who know me, they know that.”
Anselmo has had accusations of racism thrown at him in the past, and despite his defense several members of the metal community have condemned his actions. Machine Head’s Roby Flynn, who has played with Anselmo, released a response video and called Anselmo a racist, claiming he would never play another Pantera song again. Anthrax’s Scott Ian, who is Jewish, released a statement calling Anselmo’s actions “vile” and uged him to make a donation to the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
Anselmo’s actions have only added to the long-held belief that he is some sort of racist, and it will be interesting to see if Spotify decides to weigh in on the issue given their recent purge of white supremacist bands. Pantera has seen their fair share of personell trouble outside of Anselmo’s actions.