Video: Watain Guitarist Set Teitan Gave the Nazi Salute at Another Show
Earlier this week, MetalSucks reported on a photograph which appeared to show Watain touring guitarist Set Teitan giving the Nazi salute.
That this was done by a prominent metal musician immediately made it newsworthy… but it was even more newsworthy because Teitan had been accused of doing the exact same thing during a live performance in Stockholm this past January:
At the time of the Stockholm incident, MetalSucks chose not to report on the story. Why? Because we took Watain’s word for it that Seitan’s gesture had been misinterpreted, and we didn’t want to needlessly drag them through the mud.
“It has come to our attention that people have misinterpreted an arm movement of Set at our Kraken show as a ‘nazi salute’. Fucking hell, come on folks! As everyone should know by now, Watain band members have no ties to nazi ideology neither publically nor personally, and with this statement we want to put an end to further uneccesary speculation in this tiresome subject.”
But the photo seemed impossible to misinterpret. So we asked Watain for comment, and frontman Erik Danielsson sent us this statement via the band’s publicist:
“The gesture on that picture was done in jest that’s as much as we have to say about that, but to put an end to this tiresome and time-consuming nonsense the guitarist in question has decided to step aside for a period of time to avoid further hopeless discussions on the subject.
“We furthermore spit upon the ill-willed ignorance of all those who maintain that Watain have any political agenda whatsoever, for 20 years we have proven otherwise and people should know better by now. Finally we would like to send a heartfelt fuck off to all who insist on feeding the mindless moral witch-hunt hysteria that is now festering on worldwide Heavy Metal culture. Hail Satan!”
MetalSucks ran this story with Danielsson’s comment presented in full and refrained from doing any of the editorializing for which we’re known — which is to say, we kept our opinionated analysis of Danielsson’s comment to ourselves.
Then reader Maki K. sent us this video, which was filmed in Switzerland in 2011. Watch Teitan (left side of the frame) at the 0:35 mark:
Taken on its own, maybe one could have argued that Teitan was simply waving. In the context of being the third time Teitan has publicly made that gesture (that we’re aware of), and that Watain have admitted he gave the salute in the photograph, it’s very hard to imagine that that’s not what the guitarist is doing in this video.
This being the case, we decided that now would be a good time to offer the opinionated analysis of Danielsson’s comment which we previously withheld. And the succinct version of that opinionated analysis would be this:
We believe Danielsson is full of crap.
For the long version, let’s parse Danielsson’s statement piece by piece, shall we?
“The gesture on that picture was done in jest”
Sure, sure. Look at all the jovial facial expressions in that photo. Sure looks like they were just goofing around to us!
But okay, let’s pretend Teitan was just kidding around. That’s not a great joke (actually, technically speaking, it’s not a joke at all; jokes have set-ups and punchlines… this would just be deriving laughs solely from the fact that it might offend people). And it’s definitely not a joke worth repeating three times in three separate instances. So the best case scenario here is that Teitan is an insensitive idiot with the judgment of a child.
“that’s as much as we have to say about that, but to put an end to this tiresome and time-consuming nonsense the guitarist in question has decided to step aside for a period of time to avoid further hopeless discussions on the subject.”
“Set did nothing wrong. Unrelated: Set is fired.”
“We furthermore spit upon the ill-willed ignorance of all those who maintain that Watain have any political agenda whatsoever, for 20 years we have proven otherwise and people should know better by now.”
This one is just silly. For one thing, all art, including metal, is political. For another thing, Watain’s music is largely anti-Christian, which is a political stance. But even if we take Danielsson at his word, this answer seems like a cop-out; it sidesteps the political beliefs of Teitan or any single member of the band by arguing that taken as an entity, Watain isn’t political. Danielsson might as well have said, “Hey, if Teitan is a bigot, that’s his business, I don’t mind sharing a stage with him.”
Which is why simply sacking Teitan isn’t the end of this discussion. The only thing Danielsson and his bandmates condemn in this statement is the people who are offended by Teitan’s behavior. They didn’t bother with the line from the January statement about how “Watain band members have no ties to [N]azi ideology neither publicly nor personally.” They did, however, call the questioning of Teitan’s behavior “tiresome and time-consuming nonsense.” The band seems far more offended that anyone would dare worry about potentially helping a bigot to pay his bills than they do that they’ve been associated with a guy who’s been going around giving Nazi salutes at a time when fascism is on the rise (as counter-terrorism expert and former Naval intelligence officer Malcolm Nance put it last week, “Democracy is in retreat all around the world”). Which, it should go without saying, is troubling.
“Finally we would like to send a heartfelt fuck off to all who insist on feeding the mindless moral witch-hunt hysteria that is now festering on worldwide Heavy Metal culture. Hail Satan!”
The “fuck off” might be the only part of this statement that’s heartfelt. To keep with the “witch hunt” metaphor, which has become so popular amongst people who are absolutely not victims of a witch hunt: there are multiple photographs of multiple instances of the old lady riding her broom through the night sky. If anyone is being unfairly persecuted, it’s not Set Teitan.