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Down's Pepper Keenan accepts Anselmo apology

Guitarist says he believes singer has no hate in his heart as New Orleans venue cancels next week's hometown gig

Phil Anselmo's Down bandmate Pepper Keenan says he forgives the singer for his "white power" outburst.

While strongly condemning his friend's actions, Keenan says in a lengthy statement on social media that he believes the vocalist can redeem himself.

Pepper's comments come as Down's scheduled show in their hometown of New Orleans' Civic Theatre on February 8 was pulled by organisers who say they "do not tolerate intolerant behaviour, and there is no room for that in our venue or our city."

It comes in the wake of the incident at last month's Dimebash event in honour of late Pantera guitarist Darrell Abbott, where Anselmo made a Nazi salute and shouted "white power" at the end of his performance at the Hollywood gig.

Anselmo initially refused to apologise, saying it was an inside joke about drinking white wine – but has since issued both a video and written explanation, asking for forgiveness and another chance.

Yesterday, Anselmo said he wanted his bandmates to move on without him while he deals with his demons.

Now guitarist Keenan says: "I am saddened and confused by the behaviour of Philip Anselmo last week. I do not condone what was gestured and said. This lapse in judgment of 'making a joke' was in terribly poor taste and unacceptable.

"That philosophy is the opposite of what I am about. My heart follows love and soul and my music has been inspired from people of all walks of life and musical styles. I view music as a gift that is universal and intended for all of humanity. As a proud New Orleanian, life is about celebrating diversity through music, it’s about bringing people together, not tearing apart.

"I won’t speak for Phil but I’ve known him most of my life and I know there is not hate in his heart, however I hope at this moment in time Phil will focus his energy on self-reflection and begin the process of regaining perspective, healing himself and those lives he has touched through music.

"One of the responsibilities and joys, in my opinion, of being an artist or musician is having the ability to help make the world a better place. I accept Phil’s apology, and I believe he can."

The wider rock community has slammed Anselmo's actions, with Machine Head's Robb Flynn among to first to do so. Dutch festival FortaRock later pulled Down from this year's lineup.

Fans who bought tickets for Down's February 8 New Orleans show can get refunds at the point of purchase, while the Civic Theatre venue says it has made a donation to the Jewish Federation of New Orleans, "pledging our support for a united community."

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