Late PANTERA guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott‘s longtime girlfriend Rita Haney has blasted MACHINE HEAD frontman Robb Flynn for taking “a hideous opportunity to hop up on a soap box” after ex-PANTERA singer Philip Anselmo made a “white power” gesture onstage at a concert last week.
Anselmo performed the PANTERA classic “Walk” at the January 22 “Dimebash” event at the Lucky Strike Live in Hollywood, California in honor of Dimebag. As he left the stage, he made a Nazi-style salute. He appeared to say “white power” as he made the gesture, but he later claimed he was referring to drinking white wine as part of an “inside joke.” Anselmo has since released a video message, saying that he “deserves completely” the “heat” that he has been getting over his actions and claiming to be “a thousand percent apologetic to anyone that took offense to what [he] said.”
Several notable musicians have come out and criticized Anselmo for his actions, including Flynn, who uploaded an eleven-minute video response to the incident in which he called Anselmo a “big bully” and described Philip‘s behavior as “fucking wrong.”
Now Haney, who was involved in organizing this year’s “Dimebash”, has come out in support of Anselmo, saying that “Philip has owned his mistake” and accusing Flynn of “mask[ing his] real problem with something very important and very serious.”
Haney‘s entire statement follows (slightly edited for clarity):
“So to answer all of you that have asked, and for those who didn’t, read if you like, but if not, don’t…
“I think there is really only one thing to say when a man apologizes: ‘Thank you for acknowledging you were wrong.’ The one apology I am missing is the one from Mr. Flynn.
“You took a ‘hideous’ opportunity to hop up on a soap box because you were butthurt about your personal encounters with Philip that night. You sent me a text message about it in the wee hours of the morning, and it did not have anything to do with racism.
“I support the message you were trying to put out there, but not the method behind your message… You masked your real problem with something very important and very serious.
“You said to me, ‘What would Darrell do?’ He would have done exactly what was right… Speak to Philip man to man (like you described you witnessed at one time)… Not jump up in the press and hurt their music, our whole family and organization.
“The last time I checked, PANTERA was not one man. Rex [Brown, bass], Vinnie [Paul Abbott, drums], and Darrell brought us that music too… Now Philip has owned his mistake.
“Things ARE different today with racism and reverse racism. And you were not just dropping ‘bombs’ in your 20s. You weren’t calling the kettle ‘black’ not too long ago, just as I have been guilty of myself!!!
“There was wine along with many other bottles. There was lots of joking around about Dave Chapelle with one of our best friends, Dug Pinnick [of KING’S X] and there were emotions that no one could understand, or experience about Darrell, that only his brother, Philip and Rex understand.
“It is a very heavy situation when any of us come together… Indulging happens… None of these things can excuse that behavior though. But what happened on the stage was regretfully felt by one man…
“All jokes aside and on a serious note… As far as the two words and gestures are concerned, on such an amazing and beautiful night… NO!!! I do NOT condone these actions. I believe their origins are barbarically hideous and embarrassing.
“I have accepted Philip‘s apology as I want a better world to live in.
“The message is a ‘true’ message, Robb, but sadly your method was not.”
She added in a separate post: “I am upset at Robb for including PANTERA and their music as a whole. And should I receive an apology? Well, I guess it depends on what it’s for and if it has a true method behind it.
“Thank you, though. I have faith in both men. We shall see. I think they can both stand a harsh learning of their ABCs — Action, Behavior and Consequences.”