Mark Hunter Discusses Phil Labonte’s Choice Of Language, Provides Update On Chimaira’s New Album

Posted by on December 19, 2012

It’s interesting to hear you say Dave Chappelle just because I remember hearing him explain, shortly after abruptly leaving his own show, that there was one particular skit that made him basically say “ok, I can’t do this anymore.” It was where he was playing a “pixie” racial stereotype, and noted in interviews that upon seeing a white stage crew member laughing hysterically, he thought to himself “wait a second, he’s not laughing with me, he’s laughing at me.” With that in mind, do you think there’s a fine line between satire and simply playing on such words or stereotypes?

Yeah, absolutely. I can see that happening. Some people just aren’t mature enough to handle that type of humor and not laugh with, they’re laughing at like you mentioned. I guess that’s why I think you’re not going to have progress overnight, but it definitely opened a lot of doors. It seemed to be that way with my black friends at the time. They were like, “Man, I love the way he used the word nigger, man!” They themselves used the word [as if] he was taking all the hate out of the word.

 

Just to play devil’s advocate, one can make the argument, though, that when you go see a Kevin Smith film, you expect that kind of humor. Do you think that a musician, someone in a different kind of form of entertainment medium, has a different sort of responsibility in front of their fans?

Why? I mean, we’re all human, right?

 

Absolutely.

I guess we’re both entertainers. First off, it’s difficult for me in this position because the initial argument between the two guys, I don’t even want to go near [laughs].

 

Well, it’s funny because I actually spoke with Andy Biersack from Black Veil Brides recently. And he said that he never responded to the comment because he simply didn’t care and people make mistakes.

I mean, I don’t know the issue between the two. And again, I think I’m at an age where I just don’t use the word. Have I used it in the past? Of course. Have I used it to slander somebody, I suppose, in the way that Phil did? Yes. Have I ever gone gay bashing or do any harm to somebody that’s homosexual? Absolutely not! I guess now I see where the sensitive side comes from of like, “Eh, maybe we should grow up and move on and not use that word,” but would it ever stop me if one of my friends was doing something that I deemed him to be a “faggot” for? No, it would not stop me. Am I going to go on Twitter and do that? Probably not [laughs].

 

So that won’t be your next Twitter rambling? [laughs]

[laughs] That’s not going to happen. I don’t want to open that can of worms. I guess the initial comment stems from how it seems that a lot of the webzines have a problem with Phil period. They’re quick to point out things and it’s just like, “Really? This is what we’re talking about? Isn’t there something else?” I don’t know anybody that thinks the guy’s a homophobe.

 

Do you think that maybe we as a culture put too much importance or relevance on single entertainers?

Sure, of course! [laughs] That’s definite, man. It’s weird because I am an entertainer; I don’t necessarily follow other entertainers and want to know what the hell Lindsay Lohan is up to, or I’m not on TMZ. I don’t care. But I understand that I have an audience and if I post the picture of me at the grocery store, they like that, they want that. That’s their entertainment, just like they’re watching a TV show; here’s a character they’re familiar with doing something that I’ve never seen them do before, that’s exciting. Now can people become obsessed with that and make it their life? Sure. And the culture, I don’t think that you’re going escape it. I think you give power to the celebrities and then people are quick to ostracize them if they do something that they don’t like. But guess what? Everyone’s going to do something that you don’t like at one point in time, even your biggest hero. I mean, look at Michael Jackson, case in point. He was the biggest celebrity at the time and no one could think he could do unimaginable things, and there you go.

I think that we’re all human, we all make mistakes. I think ostracizing somebody who was obviously not intending to be the way that it’s portrayed… I don’t think it was your website, it was more or less Metal Sucks that said he was ignorant. I mean, c’mon, the dude’s not ignorant either. He’s…I hate to say it, but it’s a little too liberal for my taste [laughs]. And that’s buying into the stereotype of having feelings a little too hurt or something. But again, if I look at the perpetrators, Metal Sucks, they obviously can’t stand the guy. So they’re going to look for anything and everything to throw at him. That’s my opinion. That’s not to be a fact, but if you read anything that they post about it, it just seems that they don’t like the “character.” So they’re going to depict the character in any way they want. With anyone else, it probably wouldn’t have meant anything.

 

I guess it somewhat shows how sensitive we still are as a culture.

Yeah, but I think that’s a human trait, again. It doesn’t matter what side of the fence you’re on, you’re going to be sensitive to certain issues. By calling someone out on this kind of thing though, I think you’re intentionally giving the word more power than it really deserves.

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