Civic Theater cancels Down show set for Lundi Gras

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Phil Anselmo.
  • Phil Anselmo.
Down, the New Orleans metal supergroup featuring vocalist Phil Anselmo, was set to perform with Mountain of Wizard on Lundi Gras, Monday, Feb. 7. But after Anselmo's "white power" salute at a festival last month, that show at the Civic Theater has been canceled.

Festival organizers also have canceled Down's performance previously scheduled for the 2016 FortaRock festival. Anselmo posted an apology on his website, writing that "every citizen in this entire world has the unalienable right to live with dignity and respect without hate or oppression. And I mean this, with all of my crushed, yet, guilty heart."

Anselmo posted a video apology several days after he delivered a Nazi salute and growled "white power" to a crowd at Dimebash — celebrating Anselmo's late Pantera bandmate Dimebag Darrell — though Anselmo initially responded to criticism saying he was joking. In his statement, Anselmo also suggested the band continue on without him.

"I am utterly responsible for the mistakes I have made, and can only give you my word to no longer do them in the present, through ACTION, not just mere words," Anselmo wrote. "My band mates are now experiencing the consequences of my behavior, and I now publicly apologize to them as well. Never in my entire lifetime would I drag them down with me, and I’ve privately suggested to them that they move on without me. My biggest obstacle(s) are the over-indulging in the booze and blurting out spiteful, ignorant reductions of the human spirit itself. I will address these issues, head-on.I’m repulsed by my own actions, and the self-loathing I’m going through right now is justified by the hurt I’ve caused."

The Civic sent an update via email, writing that the theater "[does] not tolerate intolerant behavior, and there is no room for that in our venue or our city." The theater also made a donation to the Jewish Federation of New Orleans. Refunds for the concert are available.

Last year, Anselmo denounced use of the Confederate flag in Pantera merchandise and images, telling Hard Rock Haven that "It was never this blatant thing unless I was completely out of my mind, which I was at points in time. I’ll own that for damn sure, but that was a long ass time ago. ... You see a Confederate flag out there that says 'Heritage, not hate.' I’m not so sure I’m buying into that."

Here is Anselmo's full statement:
To all this will concern,

Every citizen in this entire world has the unalienable right to live with dignity and respect without hate or oppression. And I mean this, with all of my crushed, yet, guilty heart.

It’s common knowledge that we can choose to either learn from our mistakes, or continue on a path of insensitivity and destruction.

I am utterly responsible for the mistakes I have made, and can only give you my word to no longer do them in the present, through ACTION, not just mere words.

My band mates are now experiencing the consequences of my behavior, and I now publicly apologize to them as well. Never in my entire lifetime would I drag them down with me, and I’ve privately suggested to them that they move on without me.

My biggest obstacle(s) are the over-indulging in the booze and blurting out spiteful, ignorant reductions of the human spirit itself. I will address these issues, head-on.

I’m repulsed by my own actions, and the self-loathing I’m going through right now is justified by the hurt I’ve caused.

I realize we live in a society where apologies are NOT accepted easily, yet long for a day when they can be, but I also understand if I’m shunned till I hit the dirt.

From the bottom of my heart, and with all sincerity, I once again am truly sorry for the pain I have caused.

With truth, love, hope & respect
Philip H. Anselmo
Update: Down co-founder Pepper Keenan says he is "saddened and confused by the behavior of Philip Anselmo last week. I do not condone what was gestured and said. This lapse in judgment of 'making a joke' was in terribly poor taste and unacceptable."

"I won’t speak for Phil but I’ve known him most of my life and I know there is not hate in his heart, however I hope at this moment in time Phil will focus his energy on self-reflection and begin the process of regaining perspective, healing himself and those lives he has touched through music," Keenan wrote on Facebook


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