A heavy metal band whose concerts in Germany and Austria were cancelled earlier this year due to their singer’s history of using Nazi symbolism and making racially charged statements are playing three huge Australian shows in March.
US band Pantera, who have sold tens of millions of albums, are headlining the Knotfest concerts in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane – but there have been calls for them to be cancelled.
In 2016, the band’s singer, Phil Anselmo, did a Nazi-style salute on stage at concert in Los Angeles and shouted ‘white power’.
The band had shows booked in Germany and Austria last May, but the concerts were cancelled due to the public backlash to Anselmo.
‘At a time when white supremacist activity is skyrocketing in our nation this is the last thing we need,’ Dr Dvir Abramovich, chairman of the Anti-Defamation Commission, told Daily Mail Australia.
Phil Anselmo (pictured left) did a Nazi-style salute on stage at concert in Los Angeles and shouted ‘white power’
‘It is a kick in the guts of every Holocaust survivor to have ticket sales for a band that features a performer who has expressed neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic sentiments by using the abominable white supremacist gesture.’
After video of Anselmo’s Nazi salute and comment circulated online, he initially said he had been making a joke about the white wine served to performers at the event.
‘No apologies from me,’ he said to those criticising him. ‘Some of y’all need to thicken up your skin.’
When that didn’t stop the backlash, Anselmo did apologise and said ‘anyone who knows me and my true nature knows that I don’t believe in any of that’.
But later in 2016, he told Rolling Stone magazine ‘I think people that look through the lens of race and want to find racism will find it no matter where they’re f***ing looking.’
It was far from the first time the singer had been accused of racism. Almost 30 years ago, an MTV interviewer asked him about racist lyrics, and a year later, in 1995 Anselmo reportedly told a crowd that Pantera concerts were ‘a white thing’.
Dr Abramovich pointed out that Anselmo’s lyrics from his other band Superjoint include lines such as ‘no more of the coward Muhammad’ and ‘taking no pity on the Jewish elitists’.
‘There can never be any justification for such an outrage, and it is difficult to calculate the hurt and insult that allowing his concert to go ahead will cause the Jewish and Muslim community, as well as to many Australians.
Pantera had shows booked in Germany and Austria last May, but the concerts were cancelled due to the public backlash to Anselmo
‘Such ugly and divisive behaviour has no place here, not now, and not ever, and we call on the organisers and the venue owners to immediately cancel the planned shows,’ Dr Abramovich said.
Pantera are booked to headline heavy metal festivals at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Centennial Park in Sydney and Brisbane’s Showgrounds in March.
The Nazi salute is banned in Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted the band, the promoters of Pantera’s Australian tour, the venues they are playing, the police ministers of Victoria, NSW and Queensland and the federal Minister for Immigration for comment.