SLAYER frontman Tom Araya says that the United States Of America has become “a nation of crybabies” following the election of Donald Trump as president, with many of its citizens unable to “even laugh at themselves” because they are “mad” that “they didn’t get their way.”
Araya drew criticism from some SLAYER fans in January when a photoshopped picture of Donald Trump and the members of SLAYER appeared on their Instagram account. Araya posted the image and later criticized fans who objected to the photo, saying that he “thought it was funny” and that anyone who disagrees should keep quiet.
The same image first appeared on the official SLAYER Instagram account on inauguration day, but was mysteriously removed before being reposted a few days later.
A SLAYER band representative told Rolling Stone that Tom took it upon himself to post the photo and stressed that the image was “not something the band would have posted if asked,” insisting that such a picture “does not belong on a SLAYER social page.” The representative added: “We all have our personal opinions, some of which we have voiced in the past, but SLAYER has never endorsed any political party or any candidate, and the band intends to keep it that way.” SLAYER guitarist Kerry King also chimed in via his wife’s Instagram account, saying that “my opinion is that our war of words should be with people who don’t believe what SLAYER is about. NOT with our own fan base.”
Now, in a brand new interview with the Chilean radio station Futuro, Araya spoke out about the controversy surrounding his decision to post the Trump photo, saying that he was “taken aback by the response” to the image and insisting that he “didn’t realize that [he] was gonna piss so many SLAYER fans off.”
Referring to the public outcry that following his Instagram post, Tom said (hear audio below): “That’s what America has become. It’s become a bunch of people that… because they didn’t get their way, they’re mad. I shared a picture that I thought was funny. They can’t even joke. They can’t even laugh at themselves. They can’t even have fun. And that just is amazing that it’s come to that. We’re a nation of crybabies. [Laughs]”
Regarding how he came to post the picture in the first place, Araya said: “Someone has sent it to my wife on her page. She showed it to me. I laughed. I thought it was funny. And I thought it was funny because of all the rhetoric that Donald Trump is getting and how everybody hates him. And I decided to post the picture. I knew that some people wouldn’t like it. You have to do that, though, you know what I mean? I’m in SLAYER [laughs], and being in SLAYER, sometimes you do stuff like that just to piss people off. [Laughs]”
Even though Araya expected to get some flak for posting the Trump photo, the ferocity of the reaction from SLAYER fans surprised him. “I didn’t realize it was gonna be the way it was, which is blown out of proportion and people saying really mean things,” he said. “I’m amazed. I was just amazed at the response, as far as people thinking it’s funny and they thought it was great and they support Trump, and other people that didn’t like it, they thought it was ugly and they can’t believe that I support Trump. [Laughs] I don’t even support Trump. I didn’t vote for Trump and I didn’t vote for Hillary [Clinton]. Those are two people that are the furthest from… that I would ever vote for. I was taken aback by the response and how people reacted. But it was all in fun. It was all to make people laugh, ’cause I thought it was funny. And also to piss some people off. I just didn’t realize that I was gonna piss so many SLAYER fans off. [Laughs]”
Araya also talked about the left-right division in American politics and how it has created a real resentment on the part frustrated citizens who see their government not being efficient or effective. “It’s not only America, man,” he said. “I think it’s all over the world. People are just fed up. The world is fed up with the nonsense and the bureaucratic bullshit that exists, that runs and controls our lives. Everybody! Here in America, we’re able to express it without any repercussions. But [it’s happening] in the world in general, everywhere. Some places, people have have had enough. Everyone has had enough. They wanna be able to speak; some of these countries don’t allow that. The experience that went on in Chile about that — people trying to express themselves, and that was a bad time in Chile. Now it’s the whole world; the whole word is doing that. And that’s not good. It’s a time of people rising up and it can be dangerous for some people.”
SLAYER drummer Paul Bostaph last year called Donald Trump “the biggest joke I’ve ever seen in my life,” and referred to some of Trump‘s rhetoric as “the scariest shit I’ve ever seen as an American — in my lifetime.” Similarly, SLAYER guitarist Kerry King said that Trump was “the biggest liar I’ve ever seen in politics,” clarifying, “I mean, most of them are liars, but he just outright in-your-face lies.” King‘s words were echoed by his SLAYER bandmate Gary Holt who described Trump as a “serial liar” who refused to disavow former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke.