LOS ANGELES — The former frontman of influential heavy metal band Pantera gave a Nazi-style salute on stage at a star-studded Los Angeles charity concert and appeared to shout “White Power!”
A YouTube clip posted by an audience member showed singer Phil Anselmo raising his arm before seemingly making the offensive remark.
Anselmo, who has refused to apologize for the slur, was standing on a mostly empty stage at the end of a January 22 concert raising money for cancer research.
He had been performing Pantera covers with major stars including Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl, who is known for left-leaning politics, and Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo.
Anselmo justified himself in the comments section on YouTube, saying the gesture was an inside joke after the band members had been drinking white wine.
“Some of y’all need to thicken up your skin,” he wrote, suggesting that critics should instead focus on those who have “a more realistic agenda.”
“No apologies from me.”
But many fans on social media voiced outrage and called Anselmo a racist, although some said they differentiated the singer from Pantera’s music.
Pantera was one of the defining metal bands of the 1980s and 1990s, with a dark sound that echoed the genre’s pioneering act Black Sabbath and lyrics full of rage and violence. It’s biggest hits included “Cowboys from Hell,” “Cemetery Gates” and “Walk.”
The Texas-based band long faced allegations of racism, with Anselmo known for provocative remarks on stage, as well as drug problems.
But Anselmo last year distanced himself from the Confederate flag which Pantera had incorporated into its art.
Last week’s concert also featured a cover of Motorhead, whose frontman Lemmy died of cancer last month.
The annual charity show takes place in memory of Pantera guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott, who was shot dead on stage in 2004 by an apparently obsessed fan.