Pantera shows cancelled after frontman’s Nazi salute prompts fan backlash

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Three shows of Pantera’s forthcoming reunion tour have been cancelled this week, seemingly due to a 2016 incident in which frontman Phil Anselmo made a Nazi salute and yelled “white power” at a concert.

As Consequence of Sound reports, the revered Texas metal band, who have not toured in more than 20 years, were dropped from the lineups of Germany’s Rock am Ring and Rock im Park festivals earlier this week. The promoter of the festivals cited public backlash to Pantera’s booking as the reason for dropping the band, saying the decision was made due to “intensive conversations with artists, our partners, and you, the festival fans.”

Now, the band’s May 31 show at Vienna’s Gasometer venue has been cancelled too. As with Rock am Ring and Rock im Park, the promoter for the Austrian show did not provide a clear reason for the cancellation, writing only that refunds would be available for ticket holders.

According to Blabbermouth, the German Green Party was responsible for at least some of the backlash to the band’s German bookings; at a recent Nürnberg city council meeting, a spokeswoman for the party criticized Anselmo’s “repeated” use of Nazi slogans and ideology, and said that booking the band was irresponsible given that Rock im Park is held at the Zeppelinfeld, a former Nazi party rally ground.Rock am Ring and Rock im Park are separate festivals that share a lineup, in the style of the UK’s Reading and Leeds festivals.

The Guardian has contacted representatives for Pantera for comment.

Anselmo came under fire in 2016 after he was filmed at Dimebash, a show celebrating the life of murdered Pantera guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott, ending a set by saying “white power” and making a Nazi salute. After video of the incident circulated on YouTube, Anselmo first claimed that he had been making a joke about the white wine served to performers at the event and told those criticizing him: “Some of y’all need to thicken up your skin.” Later, he issued a full apology, saying that “anyone who knows me and my true nature knows that I don’t believe in any of that.”

The 2016 incident was not the first time Anselmo had been accused of racism. In 1994, a reporter for MTV questioned him over elements of racism in his lyrics, and a year later, Anselmo reportedly told a crowd that Pantera shows were “a white thing.” Writing for the Guardian about the incident at the time, Dom Lawson said that “the consensus in the metal world seems to be that Phil Anselmo is a racist” and that he “has some form in this unsavoury area.”

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