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Hellfest promoter refuses to remove Down from bill, faces losing grant

Posted by on February 8, 2016

CasMoIwW4AI7OXgMore drama in wake of Phil Anselmo’s drunk Dimebash outburst? Naturally. Despite multiple apologies and an offer to leave Down, the backlash over his Nazi salute and white power shoutout continues. There’s deservedly a bit of anti-Anselmo sentiment going around at the moment. Down has been dropped off the FortaRock Festival in the Netherlands and their show in New Orleans that was scheduled for tonight was canceled. However, France’s Hellfest is refusing to cooperate, and they’re facing losing a $22,000 grant from the French government if Down remains on the bill.

The festival was in the news last year as well, after an extremist Christian group vandalized the festival grounds. Kinda makes you think maybe the locals don’t care for Hellfest. France is well known for their zero-tolerance policy on hate speech, especially after what happened to Varg Vikernes a few years back. Senator Bruno Retailleau believes Anselmo (and therefore, Down) promotes hate speech. Festival promoter Ben Barbaud says if Retailleau was actually concerned about the community, he would have reached out directly to the festival, not the media.

Hellfest announced their final lineup today, and rest assured, Down is still playing. Here’s, via Huffington Post France, an explanation from Barbaud translated from France as to why Down remains on the bill:

“Anselmo apologized repeatedly. He even offered to leave the band to do no harm to his comrades, who must also be disgusted with what happens. Everyone agrees that this is unacceptable and that the metal scene is neither racist nor anti-Semitic. I know Phil Anselmo very well, who came many times to Clisson. And I am convinced that his apologies are sincere. Hellfest, we never had this kind of behavior, no one has ever seen or wear distinctive sign or speech, both live and in houses. I deeply believe that he is a good person. He is a provocateur who plays the big guys and loses foot when he’s drunk. He made a huge mistake. But people who make populist shortcuts and say horrors when they have three grams of alcohol, one can find many, including Vendee.”

So it sounds like it’s a political thing, and kudos to Barbaud for sticking to his guns and accepting the multiple apologies. It’s no guarantee, of course, that Down won’t take themselves off the bill, and we’ll have to wait to see how this plays out.

[via Metal Injection]

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