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Slipknot’s Corey Taylor Weighs in on Philip Anselmo Controversy, Racism in Music

Liz Ramanand, Loudwire / Spencer Kaufman, Loudwire
Liz Ramanand, Loudwire / Spencer Kaufman, Loudwire

Slipknot frontman Corey Taylor is often the first to throw his hat into the ring, offering his opinion on anything from politics to music. But when Philip Anselmo gave a Nazi salute and barked “White power!” at the recent 2016 Dimebash event, Taylor held back on commenting. However, during a recent chat, the vocalist finally weighed in on the controversy surrounding the actions that took place that night.

When the Guardian asked Taylor for his response to Anselmo’s racially charged actions, he revealed why he had been silent until now, stating, “I’ve been watching this all and I’ve kept mum for the most part, because I wasn’t there. So I don’t know the background on what happened, I haven’t seen the video of it – though I’ve been told by many people that it’s blatant, and there’s no way to misrepresent what was done.”

He goes on to say that this is not an issue exclusive to heavy metal and comments on what Slipknot stands for, offering, “This is a bigger problem than what happened that night. Slipknot has dedicated itself to bringing people together, to fighting racism, to fighting hate in general since the day we were started. I don’t have time for people who judge other people by the color of their skin. If that in itself offends some of my fans, then I’m sorry, you’re wrong. I don’t ever want our fans to feel like we’re judging them because of color, religion, culture, upbringing, etc. We welcome everyone, we always have and we always will.”

“I know there is a problem in metal,” the masked singer continued, “And it all comes down to, at least in America, where you grow up and what that culture is passed on from: parents, family members, friends, adults. It’s a generational thing.” Indicating strides had been made, Taylor lamented the fact that racism still permeates music, saying, “I thought we were close to phasing it out, but unfortunately I was proven wrong. So I just dedicate myself to fighting it. It’s across the board in music, though – it’s not a specifically metal thing. But it has come up in the metal community. It’s risen its ugly head because of the incident we’re talking about.”

While recognizing a problem exists, Taylor praises the community values of metal when he said, “I’ve not only played a lot of metal shows, I’ve been to a lot of metal shows, and I know for a fact they are quite diverse and they always have been. We welcome the tribe of misfits — we’re the island of misfit toys, and we always have been. It will take very little to eradicate racism from metal because the majority of it isn’t racist.”

Anselmo’s actions were met head-on with hostility from fellow musicians, most notably Robb Flynn of Machine Head and Anthrax‘s Scott Ian. Flynn, who took part in the Dimebash performance, was the first to take a public platform to voice his disgust, uploading an 11 minute video condemning Anselmo’s excuses. Ian felt if the Pantera legend was truly sorry, he would make a donation to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which is an organization that confronts racism and teaches lessons about the Holocaust.

Anselmo has since issued a second apology and even urged his bandmates in Down to continue without him. Since the incident, Down have been booted from two shows, including a hometown gig in New Orleans. Meanwhile, the decision not to remove Down from France’s Hellfest by organizers led to the French government pulling their funding from the event.

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