Scott Ian has defended his decision to publicly criticize Philip Anselmo in the wake of last year’s “Dimebash” incident, saying that friends “have the responsibility to call somebody out” when they “think they’re doing something wrong.”
At a January 2016 event at the Lucky Strike Live in Hollywood in honor of late PANTERA guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott, Anselmo performed the PANTERA classic “Walk”. As he left the stage, he was caught on video making a Nazi-style salute and appearing to say “white power.”
Although the former PANTERA frontman initially commented on the video to claim that he was “joking,” he later apologized for what he did, saying that “it was uncalled for” and asking fans to give him “another chance.”
In the days following the incident, Ian, who is Jewish, released a statement on his official web site saying, “Philip‘s actions were vile” and invited Anselmo to make a donation to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a human-rights organization that confronts anti-Semitism and hate speech.
Scott was then asked if he was aware of Anselmo‘s claim that he yelled “white power” and threw the Nazi salute because he was reacting to the audience members up front who he says were taunting him.
“Honestly, it’s something I haven’t given much thought to since it all happened,” Ian said. “I said what I had to say, and whoever said whatever they had to say, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s water under the bridge at this point.”
Ian also talked about the criticism that has been leveled at him for calling out Anselmo for his allegedly racist actions when Scott himself was involved in STORMTROOPERS OF DEATH, the mid-’80s politically incorrect side project whose debut album, “Speak English Or Die”, would likely cause an uproar if it was released today.
“There’s no way to answer that question because the record came out in 1985,” Ian said about the S.O.D. release. “So if you wanna speculate about a fantasy, then you may have time to do that in your day, but I don’t. As far as I’m concerned, when that [record came out in] 1985, either people understood that we were making fun of assholes and racists and people that would say ‘Speak English or die’… So either people understood where it was coming from or they didn’t, and if they didn’t understand, it wasn’t our responsibility to educate them. We were just having fun.”