STRYPER frontman Michael Sweet has weighed in on last month's incident when ex-PANTERA singer Philip Anselmo made a "white power" gesture onstage at a concert.
Anselmo performed the PANTERA classic "Walk" at the January 22 "Dimebash" event at the Lucky Strike Live in Hollywood, California in honor of his former bandmate, late PANTERA guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott. 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 MACHINE HEAD frontman Robb 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 Sweet has posted a statement on his Facebook page in which he says that he "forgives" Philip, explaining that Anselmo "legitimately seems sorrowful and regretful."
Said Sweet: "So I'm sure everyone in the metal community has heard about the Phil Anselmo fiasco. Every metal artist practically (okay, not every, but many) have chimed in and given their two cents.
"The way I look at it is Phil made a mistake (a very serious mistake, mind you) with his racial gesture and comment.
"We all agree that there is NO place for racism in this day in age. We're all created equal in God's eyes and therefore should be treated equally. With respect, dignity and love. But when someone starts drinking a little too much, often enough things are done and or said that may be offensive and hurtful. It's not an excuse, but it happens.
"What's bothering me is the fact that the guy has offered an open (public) apology and was man enough to step up and swallow his pride to ask for forgiveness. Seems simple enough to me. He legitimately seems sorrowful and regretful.
"I forgive the guy and write it off as a mistake. Live and learn and don't make the same mistake twice and move on.
"Maybe my way of thinking is too simple for something like this.
"I know this much, God loves him and forgives not only Phil but all of us if we ask for forgiveness. Why can't we?
"I forgive you, Phil, and I love ya, brother."