Hellfest Refuses to Drop Down and Phil Anselmo from Their Line-Up; French Government Yanks Funding
The reverberations Phil Anselmo’s bigoted actions continue to shake the metal community. The latest: after refusing to follow in the footsteps of the Netherlands’ FortaRock festival and boot Down from the bill, Hellfest is now in danger of losing a sizable subsidy previously promised to the festival by the French government. The specific sum? A mere €20,000 (22K and change U.S.).
The anti-Anselmo charge is being led by Bruno Retailleau, a French senator who represents the the Pays-de-la-Loire region of the country, which is where Hellfest takes place. Retailleau’s claim is that Anselmo’s presence violates France’s anti-hate speech laws (which you may recall bit Varg Vikernes in the ass a couple of years back).
Hellfest promoter Ben Barbaud, however, has accused Retailleau of crassly seeking publicity for an anti-Hellfest agenda. (You may recall that last year, a Christian extremist group vandalized the site of Hellfest; that obviously wasn’t a government-sanctioned operation, but it does suggest that there is a local presence that opposes the fest.)
Barbaud explained his decision to keep Down on the bill on Le Huffington Post:
“Anselmo apologized repeatedly. He even offered to leave the band to do no harm to his comrades, who must also be disgusted with what happens. Everyone agrees that this is unacceptable and that the metal scene is neither racist nor anti-Semitic. I know Phil Anselmo very well, who came many times to Clisson. And I am convinced that his apologies are sincere. Hellfest, we never had this kind of behavior, no one has ever seen or wear distinctive sign or speech, both live and in houses. I deeply believe that he is a good person. He is a provocateur who plays the big guys and loses foot when he’s drunk. He made a huge mistake. But people who make populist shortcuts and say horrors when they have three grams of alcohol, one can find many, including Vendee. “
Barbaud did allow for the possibility of Down deciding not to play the fest in order not acerbate the uproar. If this were to be the case, we can assume that Hellfest would get its money back.
[via Metal Injection]